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Psychological sequelae of pet loss following Hurricane Katrina

By M. Hunt, H. Al-Awadi, M. Johnson

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One of the many impacts of natural disasters on the well-being of the humans who experience them is enforced abandonment and loss of companion animals. Hurricane Katrina, which struck the gulf coast of the United States in late August, 2005, was such a disaster. This study assessed the psychological effects of pet loss on survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Sixty-five predominantly white, female, middle-aged pet owners who lived in affected regions of the country completed online questionnaires, assessing symptoms of depression, acute stress, peri-traumatic dissociation, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Almost all companion animals were cats or dogs. Pet loss was strongly associated with psychopathology across all measures, even when controlling for displacement from the home (Wilks' Lambda F(4,57)=5.22, p=0.001). The impact of pet loss on PTSD was mediated by acute stress and dissociative symptoms during the evacuation (both F(1,61) >9.3, both p

Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 21
Issue 2
Pages 109-121
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Publisher Bloomsbury Journals (formerly Berg Journals)
DOI 10.2752/175303708X305765
Language English
Author Address Department of Psychology, 3720 Walnut Street, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6241,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animals
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Canidae
  5. Canine
  6. Carnivores
  7. Cats
  8. Depression
  9. Developed countries
  10. Dogs
  11. Human behavior
  12. Human diseases and injuries
  13. Humans
  14. Hurricanes
  15. Mammals
  16. Men
  17. Mental health and well-being
  18. natural disasters
  19. North America
  20. OECD countries
  21. peer-reviewed
  22. Pets and companion animals
  23. Primates
  24. Psychiatry and psychology
  25. Stress
  26. United States of America
  27. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed