Article

One of the family? Measuring early adolescents' relationships with pets and siblings

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Abstract

Pets are common but their importance to children and early adolescents has received scant empirical attention. This is partly due to a lack of tools for measuring child-pet relationships. The first aim of the present study (involving 77 12-year-olds) was to evaluate a pet adaptation of an established measure of human relationship quality, the Network of Relationships Inventory (NRI). Next, we applied the NRI to examine how pet relationship quality varies with pet type and participant's gender, and to compare participants' relationships with pets and with siblings. Results showed that girls reported more disclosure, companionship, and conflict with their pet than did boys, while dog owners reported greater satisfaction and companionship with their pet than did owners of other pets. Highlighting the importance of early adolescents' pet relationships, participants derived more satisfaction and engaged in less conflict with their pets than with their siblings.

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... Evidence supports that children, like adults, consider their pets to be members of their family (Risley-Curtiss et al., 2006). Indeed, prior research indicates that youths' relationships with their pets mirror that of their relationships with siblings (Cassels et al., 2017). Thus, from this theoretical perspective, companion animals are an important component of the context in which children are developing. ...
... Research exploring youths' interactions with animals has found that pets provide a source of social support for youths. Relationships between companion animals and youths are similar to relationships that youths have with others in their lives, such as their peers and family members (Cassels et al., 2017;McNicholas and Collis, 2001). Pets are often perceived as being nonjudgmental and loyal and, thus, children and adolescents frequently seek out interactions with their pets to provide comfort during stressful situations, especially in the context of adverse family environments (Fine, 2014;McDonald et al., 2015;Newberry, 2017). ...
... One of the most widely documented benefits of HAI is the emotional support youths gain from interacting with pets. As previously mentioned, youths often consider their pets to be family members (Cassels et al., 2017;Hirschenhauser et al., 2017;Morrow, 1998;Risley-Curtiss et al., 2006) and turn to them for support when experiencing negative emotions or stress (McDonald et al., 2015;McNicholas and Collis, 2001;Melson, 2003). For example, youths report that they confide in their pets when sad, angry, happy, or to share secrets (Bryant, 1985;Covert et al., 1985;McNicholas and Collis, 2001). ...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes current theoretical and empirical research on the influence of human-animal interaction on youths’ development and wellbeing. We highlight the potential benefits and risks associated with interactions with companion animals, emphasizing the importance of factors such as attachment and bonds with pets in the context of youths’ development. We also discuss the inclusion of animals in educational and therapeutic interventions. We conclude with recommendations for how researchers and practitioners can advance the assessment of risk and resilience among youths by attending to relationships and interactions with companion animals within the family system and broader developmental context.
... Physical activity provides mental stimulation and reduces the risk of a pet becoming overweight or obese [66] . The current consensus is that 20 minutes exercise a day is the minimum beneficial period, with 30-60 minutes being preferable [67] . ...
... However, there are age and breed differences in the level of exercise required to provide appropriate levels of mental stimulation and in order to maintain fitness and a healthy body weight. When out walking a dog, varying the route increases the degree of mental stimulation provided [66] . For indoor cats, physical activity can be encouraged through play, either with their owner or independently through toys. ...
... Human-pet relationships show some similarities to those between parents and their children [65] . Recent research has compared children's relationships with pets and siblings across several aspects of relationship quality [66] . Children were found to derive more satisfaction from relationships with their pets than with their brothers or sisters. ...
... Past research shows that the ability to understand thoughts, beliefs, and emotions in ourselves and others (i.e., theory of mind or mental state understanding) helps us to develop social interactions and relationships (Cassels, White, Gee, & Hughes, 2017;Etel & Slaughter, 2019). However, with the exception of a few studies (Daly & Suggs, 2010;Myers, Saunders, & Garrett, 2003, 2004, relatively less research has explored children's use of mental state talk and children's relationships with companion animals. ...
... Past studies show that companion animals may be especially significant to young people, as they help them in their social and emotional development by providing opportunities to acquire skills such as empathy, responsibility, and caretaking (Seivert, Cano, Casey, Johnson, & May, 2016). Children and early adolescents report strong emotional bonds with their companion animals (Melson, 2001(Melson, , 2003, spontaneously list companion animals when asked to name close friends and providers of social support (Bryant, 1992), and rely on their companion animals as playmates and confidants (Cassels et al., 2017). However, little is known about the connections between children's experiences with companion animals within a learning context, and their social and emotional competencies. ...
... Human-animal interactions are affected by beliefs and emotions about companion animals' minds (Cassels et al., 2017). The development of beliefs or mental states about animal minds involves the belief that nonhuman animals have the ability to think, feel, and experience emotions. ...
Article
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Children’s emotional and mental worlds are often influenced by their experiences with companion animals. This study explored 77 (50 g; 27 b) 6- to 12-year-old children’s empathy; perceived companion animal friendship, comfort, and bonding; and mental state talk in conversations about their interactions with their companion animal. Children completed self-report questionnaires and responded to two moral stories about companion animals. Results showed that higher levels of children’s mental state talk were related with high levels of empathy for companion animals. Compared to boys, girls reported significantly stronger companion animal friendships, and that they received more comfort from their companion animals. Results also showed that, for girls only, higher levels of perceived companion animal friendship were related to higher levels of emotional comfort received. The findings can inform humane education programs that promote mental state talk, moral agency, and relationships.
... Household pets are important aspects of the social and environmental ecologies of children (Carr & Rockett, 2017). When examining family relationships and social support, it is important to consider broad modern networks of relationships and the subsequent impact on development, which include pet animals (Cassels, White, Gee, & Hughes, 2017;Melson, 2003). It is estimated that up to 75% of U.S. households with children above the age of 6 years are characterized by cohabitation of human and non-human animals (American Veterinary Medical Association, 2007), and a majority of people who reside with pet animals consider them to be a member of the family (American Veterinary Medical Association, 2007;Burns, 2019). ...
... Children often value their relationships with their pets over and above relationships with other family members including siblings (Cassels et al., 2017), and turn to their pets in times of difficulty for support and comfort (Melson, Schwarz, & Beck, 1997;Russell, 2017). For example, children may become more attached to their pets when facing adversity such as parental divorce (Strand, 2004), and pets can serve as important attachment figures and a source of emotional support, companionship and friendship within adverse family settings (Cassels et al., 2017;McDonald, Collins et al., 2015;McDonald, Vidacovich, Williams, Ascione, & Green, 2015;Newberry, 2017). ...
... Children often value their relationships with their pets over and above relationships with other family members including siblings (Cassels et al., 2017), and turn to their pets in times of difficulty for support and comfort (Melson, Schwarz, & Beck, 1997;Russell, 2017). For example, children may become more attached to their pets when facing adversity such as parental divorce (Strand, 2004), and pets can serve as important attachment figures and a source of emotional support, companionship and friendship within adverse family settings (Cassels et al., 2017;McDonald, Collins et al., 2015;McDonald, Vidacovich, Williams, Ascione, & Green, 2015;Newberry, 2017). Additionally, caring for pets may contribute to a child's global sense of competence and positive self-regard, which may be particularly beneficial to promoting child resiliency in households where there is family conflict and/or parents struggle to demonstrate healthy parenting practices (McDonald, Corona et al., 2016;. ...
Article
Background: It is estimated that more than half of children living in households where intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs are also exposed to animal cruelty (AC). Although prior research links bonds with pets with higher levels of socioemotional competence among school-age children, exposure to AC may negate the protective effects of pet ownership and/or exacerbate the potentially deleterious effect of IPV on children’s mental health. Objective: The current study evaluates whether and to what extent the associations between exposure to IPV and several indicators of children’s mental health vary as a function of children’s positive engagement with pets and exposure to AC. Participants and Setting: Participants included 204 children (aged 7–12 years; 47% female; 57% Latinx) and their maternal caregiver who were recruited from domestic violence agencies in a western U.S. state. Method: Multiple moderation analysis evaluated whether the association between children’s exposure to IPV and internalizing and posttraumatic stress symptoms vary as a function of children’s positive engagement with pets and exposure to AC. Results: Analyses revealed several moderation effects for positive engagement with pets (e.g., internalizing problems: [b = −.15, t(195) = −2.66, p = .008]; posttraumatic stress symptoms: [b = −.13, t(195) = −2.24, p = .026]), whereas exposure to AC only moderated the association between IPV and anxious/depressed symptoms (b = .32, t(195) = −2.41, p = .017). Conclusions: These findings highlight the potential protective effects of positive engagement with pets and importance of screening for exposure to AC when engaging in trauma-informed work with children exposed to IPV.
... However, these findings often did not replicate across all species (with some specific differences between dog and cat owners [16]). These species differences align with existing research on adolescent-pet relationships, which suggested that dog owners report higher levels of satisfaction, companionship, and attachment [21,22], as well as other research with adult populations [23]. Therefore, exploring the unique effects of youth-dog relationships is an important facet of understanding if and how pets may ameliorate loneliness during COVID-19. ...
... Pet attachment was measured using nine items from the Network of Relationships Inventory-Pet (NRI-Pet), which is validated for use with adolescents [21]. Items from the satisfaction, companionship, and disclosure domains were used, which measured satisfaction with pet relationship, how often they go places and enjoy doing things with their pet, spend time with their pet, how much they play around and have fun with their pet, how often they confide to their pet about secrets, feelings and things others don't know, and how much they talk to their pet about everything. ...
Article
Full-text available
The pandemic associated with the emergence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is an unprecedented historical event with the potential to significantly impact adolescent loneliness. This study aimed to explore the role of companion animals and attachment to pets in the context of the pandemic. We used longitudinal quantitative survey data collected prior to and during the pandemic to assess the role of pets in predicting adolescent loneliness. Pet ownership was not a significant predictor of loneliness before the pandemic, but did predict higher levels of loneliness during COVID-19 as well as higher increases in loneliness from before to during the pandemic. Dog ownership predicted lower levels of loneliness prior to, but not during the pandemic, and dog owners were significantly more attached to their pets than non-dog pet owners. Adolescents with pets reported spending more time with their pets during the pandemic, and frequently reported pet interactions as a strategy for coping with stress. Overall, the results from this study did not support the presence of a buffering effect of companion animals on loneliness for adolescents and indicate complexity in the relationships between pet ownership, attachment, loneliness, and coping with stress. These results suggest a need for additional research further assessing how features of the relationship such as species and relationship quality might contribute to adolescent mental health outcomes.
... A number of studies have shown that girls are more likely than boys to rely on pets for companionship and comfort (Cassels, White, Gee, & Hughes, 2017;Muldoon, Williams, & Currie, 2019). This may partially explain why females were the most likely to complete the pets survey. ...
... The role of pets as companions is well documented in the literature (e.g.,Carr & Rockett, 2017), and pets are widely understood to be integral members of a family(Cassels et al., 2017;Power, 2008).Recent research has found that young people view pets and siblings as equal in the companionship they provide. However, youth often receive more satisfaction and engage in less conflict with pets than with their siblings(Cassels et al., 2017). ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Connections and Companionship II is a sequel to a 2016 report which looked at the relationship between adolescents and their pets. It includes data from the 2018 BC Adolescent Health Survey and from a 2020 survey specifically about youth’s relationship with their pet.
... This support may be significant for adolescents facing peer victimization. Indeed, adolescents report that relationships with pets are more satisfying and include less conflict than relationships with siblings (Cassels et al., 2017). Owning pets contributes to self-esteem and autonomy in children entering adolescence (Van Houtte & Jarvis, 1995). ...
... One additional source of support that may lessen the influence of peer victimization is support from companion dogs. Adolescents report strong emotional bonds to their dogs (Cassels et al., 2017;Muldoon et al., 2018), and attachment to their canine companions is related to a better quality of life even after adjusting for good communication with mothers, fathers, and best friends (Marsa-Sambola et al., 2017). Child and adolescent dog owners who are more attached to their pets also score higher on prosocial orientation and empathy than non-owners (Vidović et al., 1999). ...
... Factors such as being male, widowed, strongly involved in the dog's care, and being uncomfortable with self-discourse are associated with a greater likelihood of self-disclosure to the dog (Kurdek, 2009). In contrast, a recent study with children showed that girls are more likely than boys to report self-disclosure to their pets (Cassels, White, Gee, & Hughes, 2017). These conflicting results may be due to differences between adult and child populations, but it is also ❖ possible that the broad issue of "disclosure" is too vague a concept; instead, research needs to focus on specific elements within it. ...
... In contrast to other studies (Cassels et al., 2017;Kurdek, 2009), we did not observe significant differences between male and female dog owners' willingness to talk to their dog about the issues covered. However, the sample size was considerably smaller for males; this might reflect a general reduction in talking to dogs by males, but among those who do talk to their dogs, they seem as open as females in this regard. ...
Article
Full-text available
Many owners talk to their pets about a wide range of issues, but there is very little research that has considered the content of this, or its impact on owner wellbeing. Verbal disclosure brings a range of potential health benefits, yet a number of factors may prevent individuals from confiding in their partners or friends (confidants). As such, in some circumstances, dogs may provide a more favorable alternative focus for disclosure. In a survey, we assessed dog owners’ (n = 286) and non-dog owners’ (n = 64) self-reported willingness to talk to their dog (dog owners only), their partner and their confidant. We used the Emotional Self Disclosure Scale (ESDS) for non-dog owners, and an adapted version of this for dog owners: Emotional Self Disclosure Scale–Dog Owners (ESDS-DO). Both dog owners and non-dog owners demonstrated a greater willingness to disclose to their partner than a confidant. For dog owners, their dog appeared to play a similar role as their partner, with greater willingness to talk to their dog about depression, jealousy, anxiety, calmness, apathy, and fear-related emotions, compared with a confidant. When talking about jealousy and apathy, dog owners reported greater willingness to talk to their dog than their partner or a confidant, but between-group comparisons (dog owner vs non-dog owner) revealed that dog owners and non-dog owners did not significantly differ in their willingness to talk to their partner or confidant, suggesting human relationships were not negatively affected by confiding to the dog. Participant age and length of relationship with their partner did not affect disclosure patterns for dog owners or non-dog owners. Males and females showed different willingness to disclose to confidants, but not to dogs. The results have implications for considering the value of dogs for human psychological health.
... Witnessing AM can be particularly traumatic for children exposed to IPV, as several studies have reported that pets serve as important attachment figures among children living in adverse family settings (McDonald et al., 2015;Melson, 2000). Findings have also indicated that children and adolescents consider their relationship with their pets to be important and rely on household animals for companionship, play, and emotional support (Cassels et al., 2017;Kosonen, 1996;Marsa-Sambola et al., 2016;Maharaj, Kazanjian, & Haney, 2016;Melson et al., 2017;McNicholas & Collis, 2001;Newberry, 2016). Thus, it follows that childhood exposure to AM may lead to emotional desensitization, particularly if there is a strong emotional bond in place. ...
... Witnessing AM, particularly AM resulting in harm and/or death, is likely to be a traumatic experience. Indeed, findings indicate that children value their pets as support above siblings and many adult people in their lives (Cassels et al., 2017;Kosonen, 1996;Melson, 2003). Therefore, it follows that exposure to AM is likely to result in depression, increased anxiety or post-traumatic stressas seen in the significant intercorrelation with internalizing problems in the present study. ...
Article
Children exposed to intimate partner violence are at increased risk for concomitant exposure to maltreatment of companion animals. There is emerging evidence that childhood exposure to maltreatment of companion animals is associated with psychopathology in childhood and adulthood. However, few studies have explored developmental factors that might help to explain pathways from animal maltreatment exposure to children’s maladjustment. The present study addresses this gap in the literature by examining relations between children’s exposure to animal maltreatment, callous/unemotional traits (i.e., callousness, uncaring traits, and unemotional traits), and externalizing and internalizing behavior problems. A sample of 291 ethnically diverse children (55% Latino or Hispanic) between the ages of 7 and 12 was recruited from community-based domestic violence services. A meditational path model indicated that child exposure to animal maltreatment was associated with callousness (β = 0.14), which in turn was associated with greater internalizing (β = 0.32) and externalizing problems (β = 0.47). The effect of animal maltreatment exposure on externalizing problems was mediated through callousness. Results suggest that callous/unemotional traits are a potential mechanism through which childhood exposure to animal maltreatment influences subsequent behavior problems. Future research is needed to evaluate the extent to which exposure to animal maltreatment affects children’s adjustment over time in the context of other co-occurring adverse childhood experiences. Article can be accessed at: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1VjQCX18Y9wqy
... The role pets played in motivation to get out of bed (keeping to a regular schedule) and encouragement to take exercise, both considered to be important contributors to restorative sleep, were also frequently mentioned. The link to psychological well-being has been identified in additional studies (Beetz et al. 2012;Cassels et al. 2017;Irvine and Cilia 2017) and some researchers suggest that pets can play a transitional role at bedtime, triggering a sense of routine, order and security, thus easing the path to sleep (Wells 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
(1) Background: Chronic pain is a significant and prevalent condition in many industrialized nations. Pain and sleep’s reciprocal nature suggests that interventions to improve sleep may decrease pain symptoms. Little attention has been paid to the influence that owning a pet dog has on the pain/sleep relationship. Typical advice to remove pets from the bedroom negates the possible positive benefit of human-animal co-sleeping. Aim: To investigate pain patients’ perceived impact of pet dog ownership on sleep. (2) Methods: We carried out a content analysis of interview data focused on the impact of pet dog ownership on sleep. The qualitative dataset comes from a subgroup of participants in a larger study examining the pain patient/canine relationship. This subgroup of participants from the larger study was asked, “Does your dog have a positive or negative impact on your sleep?” The data were thematically coded using an iterative approach. (3) Findings: Codes included: companionship; physical presence/’cuddles’; routine/schedule; distraction from anxiety/worry at night; reassuring/protective presence; active intervention to keep participant safe; daytime activity to promote sleeping at night; and reciprocal concern for the sleep of the pet dog. (4) Conclusions: Pet dogs may play important roles in helping people with chronic pain achieve sleep onset and maintenance. Removing the dog to improved sleep could be counter-productive and lead to additional sleep-related issues.
... Studies of both children and adults reveal that a significant number of individuals consider pets to be family members (Melson, 2001;Cohen, 2002; American Pet Products Association [APPA], 2018) and to rank relationships with pets as being important (Kosonen, 1996). A study of 7-to 8-year-old children reported that pets ranked higher as sources of social support than non-immediate family members such as aunts, uncles and grandparents, (McNicholas and Collis, 2000), while a study of 12-year olds found that children reported greater satisfaction with their relationships with pets than with their relationships with siblings (Cassels et al., 2017). Despite the prevalence and importance of pets in children's lives, there is surprisingly little research on the effects of pets on child development, especially in comparison to research examining human-human family relationships. ...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence regarding the effects of pet ownership and related variables on youth socioemotional development is mixed. Inconsistencies across studies may be due to a variety of factors, including the use of different outcomes measured across studies, small potential effect sizes, and use of selected samples. In addition, studies have not systematically controlled for demographic characteristics that may bias results, nor have studies systematically examined whether effects are consistent across different subgroups. The present study examined the impact of pet ownership and attitudes toward pets on four measures of youth socioemotional outcomes: delinquency, depressed mood, empathy, and prosocial behavior. Linear mixed-effect regression analyses were conducted on 342 youth (48.0% male) aged 9-19 (M = 14.05, SD = 1.77) from a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse sample. The majority (59.1%) of youth currently lived with a dog or cat and all participants completed the Pet Attitude Scale-Modified. Pet owners reported lower delinquency and higher empathy than non-owners; however, group differences became non-significant once demographic factors were controlled for. Attitudes toward pets was significantly associated with all four outcomes. More positive attitudes was modestly associated with lower delinquency (β = -0.22, p < 0.001) and higher empathy (β = 0.31, p < 0.001), with smaller effects for depressed mood (β = -0.12, p = 0.04) and prosocial behavior (β = 0.12, p = 0.02). For delinquency, empathy, and prosocial behavior, effects were only slightly attenuated and remained statistically significant after controlling for gender, age, race/ethnicity, family socioeconomic status, and pet ownership, although the effect for depressed mood became non-significant after inclusion of these demographic factors. While there was some variability in effect sizes across different subgroups, none of the interactions between attitudes toward pets and gender, race/ethnicity, age, family SES, or pet ownership was statistically significant, indicating that the effects may transcend individual differences in demographic characteristics. Overall, the study adds to a growing body of work supporting a positive relationship between emotional bonds with pets and youth socioemotional outcomes and offers potential explanations for inconsistencies across previous studies.
... In many cases, individuals consider a pet a family member or as an attachment figure (Zilcha-Mano, Mikunlincer, & Shaver, 2012). People often feel more connected to their animal than to other humans (Carmack, 1985), with pets holding the role of a companion, best friend, or sibling (Cassels, White, Gee, & Hughes, 2017). Pets also contribute positively to the emotional development of children (Caya, 2015). ...
Article
There is little research available regarding the impact of pet loss on children. In the current mixed-methods study, we explored the different ways that children use continuing bonds (CB) to cope following the death of a pet. We studied 32 children (5–18 years) and their parents. Children answered four questionnaires and the Continuing Bonds Interview. Parents answered a demographic questionnaire. Results suggest that all children utilize CB while grieving the loss of a pet, although CB expression varies depending on the age of the child, the level of grief following the loss, and the strength of attachment to the pet.
... However, to our knowledge, no study has examined the use of the PALS response scale. This is an important area for future HAI research, as ceiling effects are a common methodological issue in research on relationships with companion animals (e.g., Bibbo et al., 2019;Cassels et al., 2017). It is important that HAI researchers carefully consider how participants utilize the PALS response scale, consider whether it is appropriate for diverse populations, and test the utility of the response scale across population groups (e.g., minoritized racial/ethnic groups, SGM groups) and developmental periods. ...
Article
There has been increased research attention on the benefits associated with attachment bonds between humans and their companion animals, such as for human physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life. However, there is a lack of human-animal attachment measures that have been psychometrically evaluated across diverse samples. The current study addressed this gap by testing the psychometric properties of the Pet Attachment and Life Impact Scale (PALS). Our sample included 154 sexual and gender minority emerging adults who had lived with a dog and/or cat in the past year and responded to the PALS regarding a dog or cat (Mage = 19.34 years, SDage = 1.12 years; 37% racial/ethnic minority; 50% gender minority; 98.7% sexual minority). We collapsed the lowest three response options due to low endorsement; to conduct invariance testing, items 11, 20, 28, and 37 were deleted due to high correlations between items. Confirmatory factor analyses found that a modified three-factor model, excluding the Negative Impact items, fit our data best. We found support for strong measurement invariance across gender modality, racial/ethnic majority vs. minoritized groups, participation prior to or after the COVID-19 pandemic onset, and pet type groups. All three PALS factors (Love, Regulation, Personal Growth) were correlated with human social support from friends, and the Love factor was positively associated with emotional comfort from pets, providing evidence of construct validity. Given the potential role of attachment bonds with companion animals in promoting human health and wellbeing, future research should continue to evaluate the psychometric properties of the PALS and measurement equivalence across a broader range of demographic groups to ensure meaningful interpretation of pet attachment scores.
... For instance, a study using the Network of Relationships Inventory found that 12-year-old children experienced less conflict with their pets compared to siblings and experienced greater relationship satisfaction with their pets than with their siblings. 66 There is also some evidence of a correlation between children's level of attachment to their pets and quality of life, as well as overall satisfaction with life. 67 Many researchers have also asserted that pet dogs have a significant impact on children's development by providing an opportunity for the child to care for a dependant. ...
Article
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Shelby H Wanser, Kristyn R Vitale, Lauren E Thielke, Lauren Brubaker, Monique AR UdellDepartment of Animal and Rangeland Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USAAbstract: Research suggests that humans can form strong attachments to their pets, and at least some pets display attachment behaviors toward their human caretakers. In some cases, these bonds have been found to support or enhance the physical and emotional well-being of both species. Most human–animal interaction research to date has focused on adult owners, and therefore less is known about childhood pet attachment. However, there is growing evidence that pets may play an important role in the development and well-being of children, as well as adult family members. Research conducted to date suggests that child–pet relationships may be especially impactful for children who do not have stable or secure attachments to their human caretakers. However, given that human–animal interactions, including pet ownership, can also introduce some risks, there is considerable value in understanding the nature of child–pet attachments, including the potential benefits of these relationships, from a scientific perspective. The purpose of this review is to provide background and a brief overview of the research that has been conducted on childhood attachment to pets, as well as to identify areas where more research would be beneficial.Keywords: human–animal interactions, pet ownership, attachment style, secure base, child development
... For adolescents, dogs can provide reliable emotional support [40]. Cassels, White, Gee, and Huges [42] asked parents that have a family dog about their children's care for the dog. They determined the extent to which children feed, walk, teach, groom, and clean their dogs. ...
Article
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Does the act of caring for a dog have a substantial connection to the environmental values and behaviours of children? The scientific current literature contains little empirical research regarding the effect of pet ownership on environmental attitudes and behaviours in children. The Two Factor Model of Environmental Values (2-MEV) scale and the General Ecological Behaviour (GEB) scale were applied to measure environmental attitudes/values and ecological behaviours aligned with the Children’s Care for Dogs Questionnaire (CTDQ) to measure individual care for dogs. The subjects were Slovenian adolescents in primary education and lower secondary education. A clear relationship emerged: students that reported a better level of care for their pet dogs tended to engage in more environmentally responsible behaviours. Preservation and utilization attitudes had no significant influence on caring for a dog. Female students tended to report better care for dogs and practiced environmental behaviour more often. Younger students scored higher on the preservation values and practiced environmental behaviour more often. Overall, this study provides an evidence-based framework for educational initiatives that aim to include long-term care for animals. This study proposes a method with which educational programs could achieve the goal of fostering environmental behaviours.
... Sibling relations are characterized by both conflict and closeness, which may increase the complexity of emotions during bereavement and severity of grief (Smigelsky et al., 2019). Relationships with pets can be less conflict-ridden and more satisfactory than those that people have with their sisters and brothers (Cassels et al., 2017). Thus, the grieving process might be less complicated when losing a pet than when losing a sibling, which could be reflected in fewer first person singular, and more positive emotion words in pet loss. ...
Article
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We compared online discussion forum posts related to pet loss to those related to human bereavement. Posts (N = 401) were analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software for frequencies of word use relevant to bereavement. Words related to anger, sadness, and negative emotions were used at similar frequencies for all grief. Sibling loss was associated with using first person pronouns at higher frequencies, and positive emotion words at lower frequencies than other categories of loss. There were some similarities in partners and pets in the word use related to friends and social connectedness. Words related to religion were highest when writing about losing a child and lowest when losing a pet. Our results highlight the similarities in the vocabulary in pet and human bereavement. Findings demonstrate the importance of online discussion forums for understanding the process of grief and specific relationship types.
... One protective factor that has been overlooked is children's positive relationships with pets in the household. A child's relationship and/or bond with a companion animal (i.e., dogs, cats) often mirrors a sibling relationship (Cassels, White, Gee, & Hughes, 2017). Research supports that children form strong, emotional bonds with pets and, thus, children turn to their pets for support and comfort in times of adversity (DeGue, 2011;Melson, Schwarz, & Beck, 1997;Russell, 2017;Strand, 2004). ...
Article
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[in press] Background: Prior research has found that co-occurring forms of family violence exacerbate the effect of intimate partner violence (IPV) exposure on children’s externalizing behaviors. Although exposure to animal cruelty (AC) is prevalent among children living in households where IPV occurs, no study to date has tested whether and to what extent AC moderates the relationship between IPV exposure and externalizing behaviors. The current study evaluates whether the associations between exposure to IPV and several indicators of externalizing behavior vary as a function of children’s AC exposure and engagement with pets. Method: Participants included 204 mother-child dyads recruited from IPV services (children aged 7-12 years; 47% female; 77.5% ethnic minority). We conducted a separate multiple moderation analysis for each externalizing outcome (rule-breaking behavior, aggressive behavior, oppositional defiant problems, and conduct problems) using PROCESS to evaluate whether the association between exposure to IPV and externalizing behavior varied as a function of children’s engagement with pets and exposure to AC (adjusting for demographic covariates). Results: Approximately 27% of children were exposed to AC. We did not find evidence that positive engagement with pets or AC exposure moderated the association between IPV and externalizing problems. Conclusions: Although prior research suggests that AC exposure and positive engagement with pets may impact the development of internalizing behavior, this study’s findings have important implications as they suggest that these aspects of human-animal interaction may play a less significant role in the development of externalizing behavior, particularly in the context of IPV.
... Early childhood is a critical phase in the life course when interactions with others can shape the course of child development and emotional wellbeing [12][13][14][15]. Indeed, some studies have reported an association between pet ownership and children's emotional development, including the development of empathy, emotion regulation, enhancement of self-esteem and reducing feelings of loneliness; however, the findings stemmed mainly from examining adolescent samples [16][17][18][19][20][21][22]. ...
Article
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With many children and young adolescents reporting strong emotional bonds with their pets, the impact of pet ownership on child/adolescent health—especially on their emotional development—has garnered increasing scientific interest. We examined the association between pet ownership in toddlerhood (age 3.5 years) and poor emotional expression in later childhood (age 5.5 years) using propensity score matching within a longitudinal cohort dataset from Japan (n = 31,453). A propensity score for pet ownership was calculated by logistic models based on a comprehensive list of each child’s observed characteristics, including sex, household income, parental education, mother’s employment status, residential environment, number of siblings, and living arrangement. Log-binomial regression analyses using matched samples revealed that children who owned pets during the toddler years were 6% less likely to have a poor emotional expression in later childhood (prevalence ratio = 0.94, 95% confidence interval = 0.90–0.99) compared to those without pets. This suggests that owning pets may provide children with opportunities to control their emotions, and lead to a lower prevalence of poor emotional expression. Pet ownership in toddlerhood may contribute to the development of expression.
... Growing up with childhood pets is common, and such early experiences in humananimal interactions (HAIs) confer both risk and benefits to a young person's development, depending on the type of interactions that exist between them and the strength of the human-pet bond. Many child-pet relationships are positive ones, as animals are often viewed by children as being central to their family and social systems and are often granted the status of 'best friend'; this bond and friendship are often perceived as being reciprocal [1][2][3]. Children are often found to be emotionally expressive toward their pets and turn to them for support and comfort, particularly in times of distress and adversity, which can increase resilience and protect against psychopathology [4][5][6]. Dogs especially can serve a therapeutic function, particularly for children with emotional problems through increasing emotional stability, evidenced by the prevention and de-escalation of episodes of emotional crisis [7,8]. ...
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Emerging evidence suggests that pet dogs can offer features of a secure attachment which has been associated with healthy psychological development across the lifespan. Limited research has investigated the underpinning mechanisms that may contribute to the benefits and risks of child–dog attachment during childhood. This study aimed to test the potential mediating role of caregiver-observed positive and negative child–dog behaviours, on the relationship between child-reported child–dog attachment, and caregiver-reported child psychopathology and emotion regulation. Data from 117 caregiver reports and 77 child self-reports were collected through an online survey in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parallel mediation analyses indicated that child–dog attachment had a significant indirect effect on conduct problems through negative child–dog behaviours only. Child–dog attachment had a significant indirect effect on emotional symptoms, peer problems, prosocial behaviour, emotion regulation, and emotional lability/negativity through both positive and negative child–dog behaviours. Although this study found modest effect sizes, the findings suggest that the types of interactions that children engage in with their pet dogs may be important mechanisms through which pet attachment contributes to psychological development throughout childhood, and therefore further attention is warranted. Positive and safe child–dog interactions can be facilitated through education and intervention, which may have implications for promoting positive developmental outcomes.
... However, pets may offer a pathway towards re-establishing attachment security with others, as found in children in foster care [17]. Pets can facilitate the development of human attachment relationships [21][22][23] and can act as another attachment figure in the absence or disruption of human attachment relationships, such as parental divorce [24,25]. ...
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Attachment to pets has an important role in children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development, mental health, well-being, and quality of life. This study examined associations between childhood attachment to pets and caring and friendship behaviour, compassion, and attitudes towards animals. This study also examined socio-demographic differences, particularly pet ownership and pet type. A self-report survey of over one thousand 7 to 12 year-olds in Scotland, UK, revealed that the majority of children are strongly attached to their pets, but attachment scores differ depending on pet type and child gender. Analysis revealed that attachment to pets is facilitated by compassion and caring and pet-directed friendship behaviours and that attachment to pets significantly predicts positive attitudes towards animals. The findings have implications for the promotion of prosocial and humane behaviour. Encouraging children to participate in pet care behaviour may promote attachment between children and their pet, which in turn may have a range of positive outcomes for both children (such as reduced aggression, better well-being, and quality of life) and pets (such as humane treatment). This study enhances our understanding of childhood pet attachment and has implications for humane education and promoting secure emotional attachments in childhood.
... This may be particularly relevant for children who are demonstrating early evidence of CU traits, given that the persistence of CU traits into adolescence has been found to have the most serious consequences (e.g., delinquency, aggression; Docherty et al., 2017;Kimonis, Frick, Skeem et al., 2008). More broadly, with many children seeking pets as a source of social and emotional support, in some cases more so than other family members (Cassels et al., 2017), it is critical that research continues to explore the association between engagement with pets and outcomes for children experiencing concomitant exposure to violence (i.e., IPV and AC). ...
Article
Childhood exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with serious psychological outcomes including increased odds of developing callous/unemotional (CU) traits and behaviors. Recent studies suggest that concomitant exposure to animal cruelty (AC) may increase this risk. However, even under these circumstances, bonds with companion animals may still be a protective factor that buffers the deleterious impact of IPV on child adjustment. This cross-sectional study evaluates whether and to what extent the association between exposure to IPV and children’s CU and empathic-prosocial (EP) traits vary as a function of children’s positive engagement with pets and exposure to AC. Participants included 204 children (aged 7–12 years; 57% Latinx) and their maternal caregiver who were recruited from domestic violence agencies in a western U.S. state. We conducted multiple moderation analyses to evaluate each outcome individually (i.e., CU traits, EP traits), adjusting for the effects of child age, gender, and Hispanic ethnicity. Positive engagement with pets significantly moderated the relationship between IPV and CU traits, ∆R2 = .03, F(1, 195) = 7.43, 𝛽 = -0.17, t(195) = -2.73, p = .007. Specifically, when high levels of positive engagement with pets is present, IPV is negatively associated with CU traits, whereas the reverse was true at low levels of positive engagement with pets. Evidence of moderation by AC was not supported. Our findings suggest that children who form close relationships with their pets in the context of IPV appear to derive important support from these animals; safeguarding the well-being of these animals may be critical to their long-term emotional health.
... A recent survey conducted in the United States estimated that approximately 67% of homes had at least one pet, equaling about 63 million homes with at least one dog and 42 million homes with at least one cat [1]. Pets can constitute a connection to nature, function in recreational and work activities, and provide companionship in our homes [2][3][4]. The importance of animals in our lives is founded on the human-animal bond concept, which is the "mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship that exists between people and other animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both" [5]. ...
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Pet ownership is the most common form of human–animal interaction, and anecdotally, pet ownership can lead to improved physical and mental health for owners. However, scant research is available validating these claims. This study aimed to review the recent peer reviewed literature to better describe the body of knowledge surrounding the relationship between pet ownership and mental health. A literature search was conducted in May 2020 using two databases to identify articles that met inclusion/exclusion criteria. After title review, abstract review, and then full article review, 54 articles were included in the final analysis. Of the 54 studies, 18 were conducted in the general population, 15 were conducted in an older adult population, eight were conducted in children and adolescents, nine focused on people with chronic disease, and four examined a specific unique population. Forty-one of the studies were cross-sectional, 11 were prospective longitudinal cohorts, and two were other study designs. For each of the articles, the impact of pet ownership on the mental health of owners was divided into four categories: positive impact (n = 17), mixed impact (n = 19), no impact (n = 13), and negative impact (n = 5). Among the reviewed articles, there was much variation in population studied and study design, and these differences make direct comparison challenging. However, when focusing on the impact of pet ownership on mental health, the results were variable and not wholly supportive of the benefit of pets on mental health. Future research should use more consistent methods across broader populations and the development of a pet-ownership survey module for use in broad, population surveys would afford a better description of the true relationship of pet ownership and mental health.
... The relationship between dogs and their owners is so close that about one-half of all dog owners share a bed or bedroom with their pets (Shepard 2002;Smith et al. 2017). Many owners believe that the love they have for their dogs is reciprocated (Serpell 1996(Serpell , 2003Wynne 2019) and see their pets as friends (Stallones et al. 1988) and confidants (Cassels et al. 2017;Evans-Wilday et al. 2018). Given the proximity in which dogs and people live, it is inevitable that dogs receive a great deal of exposure to human speech from shortly after birth. ...
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The perceived pitch of human voices is highly correlated with the fundamental frequency ( f 0) of the laryngeal source, which is determined largely by the length and mass of the vocal folds. The vocal folds are larger in adult males than in adult females, and men’s voices consequently have a lower pitch than women’s. The length of the supralaryngeal vocal tract (vocal-tract length; VTL) affects the resonant frequencies (formants) of speech which characterize the timbre of the voice. Men’s longer vocal tracts produce lower frequency, and less dispersed, formants than women’s shorter vocal tracts. Pitch and timbre combine to influence the perception of speaker characteristics such as size and age. Together, they can be used to categorize speaker sex with almost perfect accuracy. While it is known that domestic dogs can match a voice to a person of the same sex, there has been no investigation into whether dogs are sensitive to the correlation between pitch and timbre. We recorded a female voice giving three commands (‘Sit’, ‘Lay down’, ‘Come here’), and manipulated the recordings to lower the fundamental frequency (thus lowering pitch), increase simulated VTL (hence affecting timbre), or both (synthesized adult male voice). Dogs responded to the original adult female and synthesized adult male voices equivalently. Their tendency to obey the commands was, however, reduced when either pitch or timbre was manipulated alone. These results suggest that dogs are sensitive to both the pitch and timbre of human voices, and that they learn about the natural covariation of these perceptual attributes.
... Pet ownership is very common in the United States: recent estimates suggest that ∼60% of households in the U.S. contain at least one pet (1) and it is likely this number has increased with the popularity of pets during the COVID-19 pandemic (2). While most pet owners consider their pets to be family members (3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9), pets are legally considered to be property and are therefore not afforded the same legal protections as human family members (10,11). Notably, pet ownership is not a protected status under the Fair Housing Act and therefore tenants are not protected from housing discrimination on the basis of having a pet in their family (12). ...
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Previous studies have underscored the difficulty low-income pet owners often face when attempting to secure affordable rental housing. Further exacerbating this housing disparity are fees charged on top of normal monthly rent to pet owners in “pet-friendly” rental housing. In this study, we aggregated rental housing listings from the twenty most populous cities in Texas, USA from a popular online rental database. We paired the rental listings with census tract information from the American Community Survey in order to investigate economic and racial/ethnic patterns in the spatial distribution of the properties. We find that less expensive pet-friendly listings were more likely to have pet fees charged on top of rent than rental units that were more expensive. Additionally, when pet fee burden was defined as a function of average income by census tract, low-income communities and communities of color were more likely than higher income and predominantly White communities to pay disproportionately higher fees to keep pets in their homes. We also find patterns of spatial inequalities related to pet fee burden by a metric of income inequality by city. The burden of pet rental fees may contribute to both housing insecurity and companion animal relinquishment. We discuss these findings as they relate to inequalities in housing, with particular attention to marginalized and disadvantaged people with pets. We conclude with recommendations for policy and practice.
... Dogs and cats are the most prevalent animals kept as pets in the U.S., residing in approximately 46% and 25% of homes, respectively [1]. Adults' social and emotional relationships with pets are often akin to a parental relationship with a child, whereas pets may serve as sibling figures for children [3][4][5][6][7][8]. In this vein, there is a growing movement away from anthropocentric views of family systems and toward an increasing recognition of multispecies families and households [9,10]. ...
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Love and strong social bonds are known buffers in the experience of adversity. Humans often form strong bonds with non-human animals. The human-animal bond refers to a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between humans and non-human animals. Previous research suggests that strong bonds with pets may promote resilience in the experience of adversity, but a strong bond with a pet can also complicate this very experience of adversity, particularly among low-resourced and disadvantaged populations. What is the role of the human-animal bond in adversity, and what is the role of adversity in the bond between a human and a non-human animal? In this article we outline the state of research on the role of various types and sources of adversities in multispecies households (i.e., families, relationships) to consider this overarching question. We focus specifically on intimate partner violence, housing discrimination, LGBTQ+ identity-based discrimination, racism, neighborhood disadvantage, and economic inequality. We then outline an agenda for future research about love, adversity, and multispecies relationships, and discuss implications for public policy and community-based interventions.
... In a study of online learning in Norway, Sweden and the United States, preschoolers frequently could be seen online sitting with their pet animals who accompanied them to classes-sometimes with humorous results (Pramling Samuelsson et al., 2020). Studies suggest that older children who are bonded to their pets see them as friends and confidants and, at times, feel even closer to them than some human siblings (Cassels et al., 2017). ...
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Amid COVID-19, children’s interactions with pet animals in the household were at times strengthened, strained, or established anew. Extensive periods of confinement made the home environment not only the site for most family activities but also the hub for children’s school and many adults’ work. Research on the role of pets during the pandemic has consisted primarily of online surveys with the general finding that sweeping changes to daily living had major consequences for the dynamics between pets and people. This article addresses issues related to young children and pet keeping within the context of the recent world health crisis and the resultant lockdowns. First, it describes how the definition of a pet has changed. It then examines children’s attachments to dogs and cats, the two species most frequently chosen as pets for young children worldwide. Next, it highlights the potential risks and rewards of children cohabitating with cats and dogs at a time when many families were sequestered in homes. The article concludes with a discussion of the limitations and contributions of research on pet keeping during COVID-19 and suggests appropriate next steps that take into consideration the welfare of young children and their companion animals.
... In exchange, companion animals may play a central role in an individual's life as authentic members of one's family unit, providing social and emotional support (Meehan, Massavelli, & Pachana, 2017). Companion animals fulfill roles such as friends for young children in the home (Cassels, White, Gee, & Hughes, 2017), replacement of children for some adults (Laurent-Simpson, 2017;Volsche, 2018), and an extension of one's self (Ramirez, 2006;Veevers, 1985). ...
Article
This research explores the impact of government-imposed social isolation orders on homes with companion animals. Data were collected April through May 2020, the onset of the COVID -19 pandemic. A survey of 234 Americans observing social isolation orders included demographic questions; questions about relationships to other persons and companion animals within the home; and Likert-scale questions designed to probe the complexities of these relationships and their influences on perceived stress and isolation. We hypothesized that the presence of companion animals helps to mitigate stressors related to observing social isolation orders, with those living alone experiencing more benefit and homes with children experiencing less. The results suggest that the presence of companion animals alleviates stress and isolation by providing attachment figures and activities on which to focus one’s energy. These results support that companion animals are increasingly viewed as members of one’s family and provide social support during stressful life events.
Article
Background: Pets are often thought to be detrimental to sleep. Up to 75% of households with children have a pet, and 30-50% of adults and children regularly share their bed with their pets. Despite these high rates, few studies have examined the effect of pet-human co-sleeping on pediatric sleep. This study compared subjective and objective sleep in youth who never, sometimes, or frequently co-slept with pets. Methods: Children (N = 188; aged 11-17 years; M = 13.25 years) and their parents answered standardized sleep questionnaires assessing timing, duration, onset latency, awakenings, and sleep quality. Children completed a home polysomnography (PSG) sleep study for one night and wore an actigraph for two weeks accompanied with daily sleep diary. Based on reported frequency of bedsharing with pets, children were stratified into three co-sleeping groups: never (65.4%), sometimes (16.5%), frequently (18.1%). Results: Overall, 34.6% of children reported co-sleeping with their pet sometimes or frequently. Results revealed largely identical sleep profiles across co-sleeping groups; findings were congruent across sleep measurement (subjective: child, parent report; objective: PSG, actigraphy). Effect sizes indicated that frequent co-sleepers had the highest overall subjective sleep quality, but longest PSG onset-latency compared to the sometimes group. Conclusions: Co-sleeping with pets was prevalent in one third of children. Sleep dimensions were similar regardless of how frequently children reported sharing their bed with their pet. Future research should examine dyadic measurement of co-sleepers to derive causal evidence to better inform sleep recommendations.
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Unterschiedliche Perspektiven auf Vielfalt in der frühen Kindheit zu beleuchten und Möglichkeiten auszuloten, wie mit Kindern gemeinsam dazu geforscht werden kann, sind Anstoß und Ziel dieser Publikation. Es wird auf Wissensbestände und Wissensbezüge Bezug genommen, die sich im Kontext von früher Kindheit und Diversität entwickelt und etabliert haben und der Erläuterung unterschiedlicher Methoden und konkreter Erfahrungen Beachtung geschenkt, mit ihnen Perspektiven auf Diversität zu erforschen. Ein Schwerpunkt liegt dabei auf der Beschreibung und Reflexion des Forschens mit Kindern. Das Buch richtet sich zum einen an Studierende und Forschende der Erziehungswissenschaft und ihrer Nachbardisziplinen. Ihnen gibt es einen Einblick in grundlegende theoretische Rahmungen hinsichtlich der Themenhorizonte Kindheit, Kindheitsforschung und Diversität und stellt Methoden des Forschens, die den aktiven Einbezug von Kindern ermöglichen, in konzentrierter Weise vor. Darüber hinaus vermittelt es Fachkräften der Elementarpädagogik und Organsisationsleitungen einen Eindruck von Methoden(-reflexionen) und Vorgehensweisen des Forschens mit Kindern und kann ihnen Unterstützung im Rahmen von Entscheidungsprozessen über die Beteiligung an Forschungsprojekten sein. (DIPF/Orig.)
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The precise nature of attachment to pets and differences between girls' and boys' relationships at age 11, 13 and 15 years are investigated in this paper. Data from the 2010 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey in Scotland were used to examine various qualities of adolescents' attachments to their pet dogs, cats and small mammals. Survey participants (N = 2472) answered pet ownership questions and completed the ‘Short Attachment to Pets Scale’ (SAPS). Multivariate analysis revealed main effects of age, sex and pet type, but no interaction effects. There is a pattern of weakening attachment to pets with increasing age, with emotional support qualities of attachment receiving higher ratings from girls, and stronger attachments evident with dogs. These findings enhance understanding of the role played by pets in the broader relational context of adolescents' lives, and help to identify how we might intervene to support adolescents experiencing socio-emotional difficulties or life disruptions.
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Many people consider their pets to be family members yet little work to date has incorporated companion animals into the family life cycle. The family life cycle refers to the stages that individuals in a family household experience over time. Stages of the family life cycle typically include leaving home, cohabitation or marriage, childrearing, the empty nest, and widowhood. As family stages and roles change, the roles of individuals and pets change as well. Couples may be brought together by pets or may get pets as they construct a family. Unmarried and older individuals may increasingly live by themselves but have a pet. While negotiating the roles of pets in families and households can be challenging, research indicates that having pets offers benefits including companionship and stress reduction. The stages of the family life cycle and the roles of pets across those stages are described in this chapter.
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The purpose of this research was to develop a hypothetical model for the well-being of adolescent girls in Northern Finland. The participants were young girls between the ages of 13 and 16 living in the province of Lapland. In the first phase, data which was collected through girls' writings (n=117), described well-being and issues promoting and hindering it. In the second phase, girls were interviewed (n=19) about the meaning of seasonal changes, nature and animals relative to well-being. In the last phase three focus group interviews (n=17) were held. Based on the results of three phases, a hypothetical model was created of the wellbeing of adolescent girls in Northern Finland. The materials were analyzed by inductive content analysis. Based on the results of the first phase, well-being for the girls meant health as a resource, beneficial lifestyle, positive life course experiences, and favourable social relationships. Well-being was promoted by beneficial lifestyles, encouraging feelings, favorable social relationships and a pleasant state of being. Instead, well-being was hindered by factors that impaired health, negative personal feelings, conflicts in social relationships, and undesirable external factors. According to the results of the second phase, the participatory involvement with environment was formed from adaptation to seasonal changes, restorative nature and empowering interactivity with animals. In the third phase, natural environment that provides meaningful stimulus, winter which expresses participative and confrontational meanings and seasonal variations binding experiences was identified. The hypothetical model of well-being of adolescent girls in Northern Finland includes five dimensions, which were (1) health as an enabler, (2) the significance of social relationships, (3) acclimatization to the environments variation, (4) a harmonious connection with nature, and (5) a balanced experience of life. This research brings new knowledge of what the meanings of well-being represent for girls in the northern environment of Finland. The results can be utilized to promote the well-being of adolescent girls in a broad and multiprofessional way in nursing care. Information can also be used in social and healthcare education and in prioritizing resources for preventative actions leading to adolescents’ well-being.
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[In press in Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin (HAIB)]. Human-animal interaction (HAI) is associated with positive psychological adjustment. Although these benefits are hypothesized to be most pronounced for individuals who experience adversity and compromised social relationships, such as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual/gender minority identities) individuals, this hypothesis has not been tested. The current, cross-sectional study examined whether the strength of the relationship between emotional comfort from companion animals and self-esteem and personal hardiness varies as a function of exposure to LGBTQ+ interpersonal stressors (i.e., victimization, microaggressions). Our sample included 155 LGBTQ+ emerging adults who lived with a dog and/or cat in the past year (Mage = 19.34 years, SD = 1.12 years). To test the hypothesis, we conducted simple and multiple moderation analyses. We found evidence that the magnitude of the association between comfort from companion animals and personal hardiness was greater for those who experienced high levels of interpersonal microaggressions. Similarly, victimization moderated the relation between comfort from companion animals and self-esteem. Including victimization and interpersonal microaggressions in the same model resulted in only one significant interaction effect: the relation between comfort from companion animals and self-esteem was positive at high levels of victimization and negative at low levels of victimization. Our results suggest that among LGBTQ+ emerging adults, the benefits of HAI on self-esteem were only present when high levels of victimization were reported. Future research should continue to examine factors that may influence the benefits and risks associated with HAI to identify for whom and under what circumstances HAI is beneficial.
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As pet ownership rates grow, the role of human-animal interaction (HAI) in promoting health and well-being of both human and animals is becoming an important area of public health research. In particular, it is important to explore the relationship between HAI and youth health and development. This chapter will explore how HAI fits into a framework of developmental science, and explore the theoretical underpinnings of youth-animal relationships. In addition, this chapter will review current research on HAI and youth social-emotional development, physical health, and cognition, and will also outline potential risks and challenges to child-pet interactions. Finally, we discuss research progress and future challenges within this area of child health and development.
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The symbiotic nature of the animal-human relationship has been evident and constant throughout history, and research shows that it is not based on a simple relation of mutual benefit, but that these relationships can also include emotional and social components. People and animals have cooperated since ancient times. Animals were used as a means of transport, protection and communication, in hunting, in controlling rodent populations, for sports and entertainment, but also for socialisation. Today, animals are most commonly kept as companion animals. Companion animals are assigned great importance, especially in relation to children, because they help them learn about responsibility, empathy and respecting boundaries. While spending time with animals, children establish social interaction. Animals can be included in helping professions as part of animal-assisted interventions which include all the activities where the animal is used for helping or therapeutic purposes. This paper presents findings on the importance of companion animals among children, as well as on the possibilities of including animal-assisted interventions in working with children and youth.
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Many studies have investigated the effects of behavioral problems on companion animal welfare but few have investigated how these problems affect pet owners. The objectives of this qualitative study were to determine how pet owners experience living with and providing care for a companion animal with behavioral problems, and to identify areas of further research. Thirty-nine pet owners completed an internet survey. Responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. Thirty-seven owned dogs, one owned a cat, and one owned both a dog and a cat with behavioral problems. The experiences of pet owners participating in this survey can be described using 4 major themes: caretaking, emotions experienced, coping strategies, and lack of understanding and support. Pet owners in this study reported several consequnces for their lives due to their pet’s behavioral condition(s). Consequences related to caretaking included the extra time required for management and training, difficulty exercising their pet, and limitations on where they could go and who could visit their home. Study participants reported how their pet’s behavior directly or indirectly affected household relationships and those with family and friends. Most reported a strong human-animal bond while also reporting a range of negative emotional responses to their pet’s behavioral problem. While not measured directly, the experiences shared by our participants encompass both the subjective and objective elements of pet caregiver burden and these results highlight that caring for dogs with behavioral problems can impact owners in significant ways. While animal health professionals can serve as a source of support during treatment of animal behavioral problems, best practices need to be developed and additional resources for the owner may be needed which could include individual or group counseling with a qualified therapist or social worker. Collaborative relationships between animal health and behavior professionals and human mental health professionals could ensure that both the pet's and the owner’s needs are met when managing a pet’s behavioral problem.
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Das Ziel des vorliegenden Beitrages besteht darin, Einblick in ein Forschungsprojekt zu geben, in welchem gemeinsam mit Kindern im Vorschulalter partizipativ das Thema Vielfalt aus Kinderperspektive erforscht wurde. Das Projekt wurde mittels Umsetzung der Photovoice-Methode durchgeführt. Der Projektzeitraum erstreckte sich über 3 Jahre, vom Juli 2016 bis Juli 2019. Zunächst (2.) wird auf das Vorhaben sowie das methodische Vorgehen eingegangen. Darauf aufbauend wird der Schwerpunkt des Beitrages auf die konkrete Umsetzung der Photovoice-Methode und die Arbeit im Feld gelegt. Anschließend (3.) wird ein knapper Einblick in einzelne Themen gewährt, die aus Kinderperspektive besonders wichtig sind, was sich sowohl in den Gesprächen zeigte, als auch durch die Fotos zum Ausdruck kam. Abschließend (4.) wird das Vorgehen kritisch reflektiert und ein Fazit präsentiert.
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Previous research has shown features of an attachment bond to be fulfilled in, for instance, human–dog dyads; however, there is a considerable lack of research on the potential attachment in human–horse relationships. Employing Bowlby’s criteria of an attachment bond and Pierce’s model of therapeutically powerful activity, this article studies whether short-term exposure to horses brings about elements of emerging attachment for adolescents and if this interaction holds potential in creating a favorable early-stage setting for professional care. It draws from group discussions carried out with nine 16–17-year-old adolescents who participated in an EASEL (Equine-Assisted Social and Emotional Learning) session when visiting a farm with a youth worker. A qualitative content analysis of the discussions revealed that some characteristics of the four principal criteria of an attachment bond—proximity maintenance, safe haven, secure base, and separation distress—were identifiable in the adolescents’ expressed experiences of observing and interacting with horses. Moreover, the three main sources of therapeutic power—appeal, accuracy, and intactness—intersected with the emerging development of the adolescents’ attachment to horses. Additionally, space for self-reflection was enhanced by the presence of the horses. The study offers insights into the potential of human–horse attachment in dealing with adolescents with and without special needs for various therapy and care purposes.
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Background Early life stress (ELS) consists of child family adversities (CFA: negative experiences that happened within the family environment) and/or peer bullying. ELS plays an important role in the development of adolescent depressive symptoms and clinical disorders. Identifying factors that may reduce depressive symptoms in adolescents with ELS may have important public mental health implications. Methods We used structural equation modelling and examined the impact of adolescent friendships and/or family support at age 14 on depressive symptoms at age 17 in adolescents exposed to ELS before age 11. To this end, we used structural equation modelling in a community sample of 771 adolescents (322 boys and 477 girls) from a 3 year longitudinal study. Significant paths in the model were followed-up to test whether social support mediated or moderated the association between ELS and depressive symptoms at age 17. Results We found that adolescent social support in adolescence is negatively associated with subsequent depressive symptoms in boys and girls exposed to ELS. Specifically, we found evidence for two mediational pathways: In the first pathway family support mediated the link between CFA and depressive symptoms at age 17. Specifically, CFA was negatively associated with adolescent family support at age 14, which in turn was negatively associated with depressive symptoms at age 17. In the second pathway we found that adolescent friendships mediated the path between peer bullying and depressive symptoms. Specifically, relational bullying was negatively associated with adolescent friendships at age 14, which in turn were negatively associated with depressive symptoms at age 17. In contrast, we did not find a moderating effect of friendships and family support on the association between CFA and depressive symptoms. Conclusions Friendships and/or family support in adolescence mediate the relationship between ELS and late adolescent depressive symptoms in boys and girls. Therefore, enhancing affiliate relationships and positive family environments may benefit the mental health of vulnerable youth that have experienced CFA and/or primary school bullying.
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Bumper stickers reading "Friends can be good medicine!" were distributed by the California Department of Mental Health in 1981 as part of a statewide health promotion initiative (California Department of Mental Health, 1981). The objectives of the initiative were to increase awareness of the health-promoting influence of supportive relationships and to encourage personal involvement providing support to others. Although the ultimate success of this project is unknown, its implementation reflects the degree to which a link between social support and health has become part of our belief system. Correlations between social support and health outcomes have been found in a range of contexts and using a variety of methods (for recent reviews, see Broadhead et al. Although links between social support and health are consistently found, our understanding of the nature of this relation remains limited. A problem in past research was that social support was conceptualized unidimensionally, although it was operationalized in many different ways (e.g., marital status, community involvement, availability of confidants). More recent efforts have analyzed social support into component functions. Theorists differ somewhat with respect to the specific functions served by social support, but most conceptualizations include emotional sustenance, self-esteem building, provision of information and feedback, and tangible assistance (e.g.. Once support is defined in terms of its functions, it is possible to generate hypotheses concerning the psychological processes through which social support has its effects. Although clear theoretical formulations of the helping functions served by relationships arc crucial in the generation of hypotheses, these predictions cannot be empirically tested without appropriate assessment instruments. As described in House and Kahn's (1985) recent review, a number of social support measures have been developed. The measures differ widely in their implicit models of social support, some assessing number of supporters, others tapping frequency of supportive acts, and still others measuring degree of satisfaction with support. A number of problems have plagued these measurement efforts. At the theoretical level, the authors of social support measures have rarely articulated the assumptions underlying their instruments. For example, if a measure assesses the number of supportive individuals, the assumption is that better outcomes are associated with the quantity of support sources. If a measure taps satisfaction with support, the assumption is that better outcomes are associated with the perception that support is adequate for one's needs, regardless of tile number of supporters. Although these differences are rarely articulated, different research questions are posed and answered as a function of the manner in which social support is assessed. Inconsistencies in the literature nay be related to differences in the aspects of social support that are assessed in different studies (see Cohen & Wills, 1985).
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There is a persistent need to find usable ways of measuring social network and support for children. Up to now virtually nothing is known about the social network from the child's viewpoint. In order to evaluate whether drawing a structured social network map (the Five Field Map) could serve as a way of elucidating important aspects of the social world of children, the maps of different samples of children were studied. In a school class of 27 children, aged 11 years, a test-retest study was undertaken. The essential aspects of the map showed good stability over time. The map was compared with other instruments of social interaction in different samples. Predicted associations were found in the nonclinical samples. Aspects of the map measuring dissatisfaction, negative contacts, and conflicts were found to be associated with behaviour problems. The closeness factor of the map and reported dissatisfaction and conflicts differentiated a normal group of children living in single-parent families from a similar group of children with psychiatric problems. The Five Field Map contributes important knowledge about how children perceive their social world. It can thus be considered a suitable instrument to describe the social network from the child's point of view.
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The purpose for this study was to address the ways in which conflictual and positive relationship qualities in the sibling relationship differ at different grade levels during early adolescence. This question was addressed using a cross-sectional design with 170 early adolescents in fourth grade (n = 60), sixth grade (n = 44), and eighth grade (n = 66). Reports of the behaviors engaged in by children as well as their perceptions of conflictual and positive relationship qualities were obtained. Age-related differences were found both in children’s perceptions and in behavioral reports of the sibling relationship. Several prosocial relationship qualities were lower for sixth graders and higher for eighth graders. In addition, children’s perceptions of sibling relationship qualities differed by gender composition of the sibling relationship, with boy/boy dyads reporting lower levels of positive relationship qualities including caring, intimacy, and conflict resolution than did either boy/girl or girl/girl dyads.
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In this study, the ways in which older siblings’personal qualities and sibling relationship experiences were associated with younger siblings’levels of empathy during early adolescence and preadolescence were explored. Participants were 199 sibling dyads (mean years of age = 11 and 8, respectively) who were interviewed using two procedures: (a) in their homes about their family relationships and personal qualities and (b) in a sequence of seven nightly telephone interviews about their daily activities and companions. Multiple regression analyses were conducted separately by younger siblings’gender to examine the relations of older siblings’personal qualities and sibling relationship experiences to younger siblings’ empathy. Analyses revealed that younger sisters’ as compared to younger brothers’ empathy was related differentially to their older siblings’ personal qualities and to the nature of their sibling relationship. Additional analyses to examine younger siblings’ personal qualities and sibling relationship experiences as potential predictors of older siblings’ empathy generally were nonsignificant, indicating that older siblings enhance younger siblings’empathy rather than vice versa.
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In order to examine pet ownership and pet attachment as factors supporting the health of the elderly, a national probability sample of Americans 65 years of age and older was drawn. Participants answered telephone survey questions regarding pet ownership, life stress, social support, depression, and recent illness. In multiple regression analyses, pet ownership failed to predict depression and illness behavior, while pet attachment significantly predicted depression but not illness experience. In a group with particularly great distress (the bereaved), pet ownership and strong attachment were significantly associated with less depression only when the number of available confidants was minimal.
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Age and sex differences in willingness to communicate (WTC), communication apprehension, and self‐perceived communication competence were examined using three age cohorts of participants drawn from junior high, high school, and university student populations. Results indicate that junior high females are higher in WTC than their male counterparts and females at the university level are higher in communication apprehension and lower in self‐perceived competence than are male university students. Communication apprehension and self‐perceived competence show a consistent negative relationship that does not vary with age or sex in the present sample. The degree to which communication apprehension arid self‐perceived competence predict WTC varies with age and sex. In all three age cohorts, communication apprehension is a significant predictor of WTC among women. Among men, self‐perceived competence emerges as a significant predictor of WTC in all three age groups.
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provides a review of the measurement of friendship perceptions [of school age children and adolescents] / the existing measures of friendship perceptions are described / the conceptual background, psychometric properties, and validational evidence for each instrument are presented / the general conceptual and methodological issues involved in the measurement of friendship perceptions are discussed questionnaire measures of friendship features [Berndt's assessment of friendship features, Friendship Qualities Scale, Friendship Quality Questionnaire, Friendship Questionnaire, Network of Relationships Inventory, Behavioral Systems Questionnaire] / interview measures of friendship characteristics [Children's Friendship Interview, current status of measurement of friendships] (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Examined the extent to which isolated and aggressive 6th graders compensate for unsatisfying school friendships by deriving support from siblings and nonschool friends and whether this support protects such children from poor socioemotional outcomes. Results were as follows: (1) When compared with average and aggressive children, isolated children perceived their school friendships as least supportive and their favorite sibling relationships as most supportive; (2) isolated, aggressive, and average children did not differ in their perceptions of support from nonschool friends; and (3) high support from a favorite sibling was associated with better adjustment among isolated children on select outcomes. Despite the somewhat ameliorating role of siblings for isolated children, isolated children with high sibling support remained less well adjusted than did average children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This study examined the extent to which adolescents' perceptions of their family environments were associated with suicidal behavior. Fifteen suicidal adolescents, 14 psychiatric controls, and 14 normal controls rated their families on cohesiveness, adaptability, parent-adolescent communication, parental caring, and parental over-protectiveness. Suicidal adolescents rated their families as the least cohesive and most rigid of the 3 groups, suggesting that adolescent suicidal behavior may occur when isolation is experienced within an inflexible family system. Suicidal and psychiatric control adolescents rated their families as similarly dysfunctional along the remaining variables, and as more dysfunctional than families of normal control adolescents. The implications of these findings are discussed, and it is suggested that several characteristics commonly attributed to families of suicidal adolescents may actually be general risk factors for adolescent psychopathology, rather than for suicidal behavior specifically.
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Recent studies have confirmed that repeated wartime deployment of a parent exacts a toll on military children and families and that the quality and functionality of familial relations is linked to force preservation and readiness. As a result, family-centered care has increasingly become a priority across the military health system. FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress), a family-centered, resilience-enhancing program developed by a team at UCLA and Harvard Schools of Medicine, is a primary initiative in this movement. In a large-scale implementation project initiated by the Bureau of Navy Medicine, FOCUS has been delivered to thousands of Navy, Marine, Navy Special Warfare, Army, and Air Force families since 2008. This article describes the theoretical and empirical foundation and rationale for FOCUS, which is rooted in a broad conception of family resilience. We review the literature on family resilience, noting that an important next step in building a clinically useful theory of family resilience is to move beyond developing broad "shopping lists" of risk indicators by proposing specific mechanisms of risk and resilience. Based on the literature, we propose five primary risk mechanisms for military families and common negative "chain reaction" pathways through which they undermine the resilience of families contending with wartime deployments and parental injury. In addition, we propose specific mechanisms that mobilize and enhance resilience in military families and that comprise central features of the FOCUS Program. We describe these resilience-enhancing mechanisms in detail, followed by a discussion of the ways in which evaluation data from the program's first 2 years of operation supports the proposed model and the specified mechanisms of action.
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Child maltreatment is linked with numerous adverse outcomes that can continue throughout the lifespan. However, variability of impairment has been noted following child maltreatment, making it seem that some people are more resilient. Our review includes a brief discussion of how resilience is measured in child maltreatment research; a summary of the evidence for protective factors associated with resilience based on those studies of highest quality; a discussion of how knowledge of protective factors can be applied to promote resilience among people exposed to child maltreatment; and finally, directions for future research. The databases MEDLINE and PsycINFO were searched for relevant citations up to July 2010 to identify key studies and evidence syntheses. Although comparability across studies is limited, family-level factors of stable family environment and supportive relationships appear to be consistently linked with resilience across studies. There was also evidence for some individual-level factors, such as personality traits, although proxies of intellect were not as strongly related to resilience following child maltreatment. Findings from resilience research needs to be applied to determine effective strategies and specific interventions to promote resilience and foster well-being among maltreated children.
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In developed nations, approximately half of household environments contain pets. Studies of Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) have proposed that there are health benefits and risks associated with pet ownership. However, accurately demonstrating and understanding these relationships first requires a better knowledge of factors associated with ownership of different pet types. A UK birth cohort, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), were used to collect pet ownership data from the mothers, from gestation to child age 10 years old. 14,663 children were included in the study, of which mothers of 13,557 reported pet information at gestation, and 7,800 by age 10. Pet types recorded include cat, dog, rabbit, rodent, bird, fish and tortoise/turtle. The dataset also contains a number of demographic, socioeconomic and behavioural variables relevant to human health behaviour. Logistic regression was used to build multivariable models for ownership of each pet type at age 7 years. Family pet ownership increased during childhood, in particular rabbits, rodents and fish. A number of socioeconomic and demographic factors were associated with ownership of different pet types and the effects differed depending on the pet type studied. Variables which require consideration by researchers include gender, presence of older siblings, ethnicity, maternal and paternal education, maternal and paternal social class, maternal age, number of people in the household, house type, and concurrent ownership of other pets. Whether the mother had pets during her childhood was a strong predictor of pet ownership in all models. In HAI studies, care should be taken to control for confounding factors, and to treat each pet type individually. ALSPAC and other similar birth cohorts can be considered a potential resource for research into the effects of pet ownership during childhood.
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Meta-analytic reviews of sex differences in aggression from real-world settings are described. They cover self-reports, observations, peer reports, and teacher reports of overall direct, physical, verbal, and indirect forms of aggression, as well as (for self-reports) trait anger. Findings are related to sexual selection theory and social role theory. Direct, especially physical, aggression was more common in males and females at all ages sampled, was consistent across cultures, and occurred from early childhood on, showing a peak between 20 and 30 years. Anger showed no sex differences. Higher female indirect aggression was limited to later childhood and adolescence and varied with method of measurement. The overall pattern indicated males' greater use of costly methods of aggression rather than a threshold difference in anger. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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People have engaged in self-injury-defined as direct and deliberate bodily harm in the absence of suicidal intent-for thousands of years; however, systematic research on this behavior has been lacking. Recent theoretical and empirical work on self-injury has significantly advanced the understanding of this perplexing behavior. Self-injury is most prevalent among adolescents and young adults, typically involves cutting or carving the skin, and has a consistent presentation cross-nationally. Behavioral, physiological, and self-report data suggest that the behavior serves both an intrapersonal function (i.e., decreases aversive affective/cognitive states or increases desired states) and an interpersonal function (i.e., increases social support or removes undesired social demands). There currently are no evidence-based psychological or pharmacological treatments for self-injury. This review presents an integrated theoretical model of the development and maintenance of self-injury that synthesizes prior empirical findings and proposes several testable hypotheses for future research.
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Background: Siblings may support each other, but also reveal fierce rivalry and mutual aggression. Supportive sibling relationships have been linked to the development of psychosocial competence of children. In the present longitudinal study, we will focus on the development of perceived support in sibling dyads and on the influence of sibling support and sibling problem behavior on psychosocial adjustment in adolescence. Method: In a three-wave longitudinal sample of 285 Dutch families with two adolescent children (11- to 15-year-olds), these two siblings judged the support perceived from each other. In addition, they themselves and their parents judged their internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors. The relation of sibling support and sibling problem behavior with internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors was examined while controlling for support from parents and friends and, over time, controlling for the autoregressive effects of problem behavior. Results: Support perceived from a sibling is mostly negatively related to externalizing problems; sibling problem behavior is strongly related to internalizing problems. Differential developmental trajectories of adolescents' adjustment are associated with siblings' support and problem behavior. Conclusion: The results indicate that adolescents' relationships with both older and younger siblings arc characterized by modeling processes.
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Relatively few studies have considered the influence of non-age-mate peers or siblings (Hartup, 1976), even though Barker and Wright (1955) documented that 65% of child-child contacts in Midwest were between children of different ages. Recognition of this neglect has led to the reporting and theorizing about the importance of siblings in the socializing of children (Bank & Kahn, 1976; Bryant & Crockenberg, 1980; Dunn & Kendrick, 1982; Cicirelli, 1976, 1978; Lamb & Sutton-Smith, 1982; Sutton-Smith & Rosenberg, 1970; Weisner & Gallimore, 1977). Werner and Smith (1977) found that most adolescents in their longitudinal study had good relations with their siblings and turned to them for counsel and emotional support. Whiting and Whiting (1975) documented cross-culturally that siblings were delegated responsibilities for the care of younger siblings in varying degrees. Their discharge of these caretaking functions as compared with that delivered by the more traditionally researched caretakers (e.g., mother, father) is just beginning to be understood (Baskett & Johnson, 1982; Cicirelli, 1976, 1978; Pelletier-Stiefel, Pepler, Crozier, Stanhope, Corter, & Abramovitch, 1986). The present research examines both the structure of sibling caretaking vis-à-vis sibling relations among mainstream families in the United States and its relevance to understanding social-emotional functioning during middle childhood on into adolescence.
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Winner of the British Psychological Society Book Award (Academic Monograph category) 2013!
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A growing literature documents the importance of family instability for child wellbeing. In this article, we use longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine the impacts of family instability on children’s cognitive and socioemotional development in early and middle childhood. We extend existing research in several ways: (1) by distinguishing between the number and types of family structure changes; (2) by accounting for time-varying as well as time-constant confounding; and (3) by assessing racial/ethnic and gender differences in family instability effects. Our results indicate that family instability has a causal effect on children’s development, but the effect depends on the type of change, the outcome assessed, and the population examined. Generally speaking, transitions out of a two-parent family are more negative for children’s development than transitions into a two-parent family. The effect of family instability is more pronounced for children’s socioemotional development than for their cognitive achievement. For socioemotional development, transitions out of a two-parent family are more negative for white children, whereas transitions into a two-parent family are more negative for Hispanic children. These findings suggest that future research should pay more attention to the type of family structure transition and to population heterogeneity.
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The psychological and emotional roles played by pets in the urban household are examined. Telephone interviews were conducted with 320 pet owners and 116 nonowners in Providence, Rhode Island. Respondents were obtained from a systematic random sample of the telephone directory. Sociodemographic differences exist between pet owners and those who do not have pets. Remarried people, families with children present, and families in the "middle" stages of the life cycle are most likely to have pets, whereas pet ownership is low among widows, empty-nesters, families with infants, and those with annual incomes of $8,000 or less. Responses to the survey indicate that pets are viewed as important family members by people who live in the city. However, the roles played by pets are related to the social structure of the household. Attachment to pets is highest among never-married, divorced, widowed and remarried people, childless couples, newlyweds, and empty-nesters. Never-married, divorced, and remarried people, and people without children present, are also most likely to anthropomorphize their pets. Pet attachment and anthropomorphism are also related to type of pet. Both dimensions of pet-human bonds are highest among people who have dogs. The findings of the survey are discussed within the framework of family development theory and changing household composition in the United States.
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The authors review the literature on sibling relationships in childhood and adolescence, starting by tracing themes from foundational research and theory and then focusing on empirical research during the past 2 decades. This literature documents siblings' centrality in family life, sources of variation in sibling relationship qualities, and the significance of siblings for child and adolescent development and adjustment. Sibling influences emerge not only in the context of siblings' frequent and often emotionally intense interactions but also by virtue of siblings' role in larger family system dynamics. Although siblings are building blocks of family structure and key players in family dynamics, their role has been relatively neglected by family scholars and by those who study close relationships. Incorporating study of siblings into family research provides novel insights into the operation of families as social and socializing systems.
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This study examined the characteristics of attachment hierarchies in young adulthood. Multiple components were used to assess attachment bonds: using the attachment figure as a safe haven in times of distress, using him or her as a secure base from which to venture out independently, having a strong emotional tie with the person regardless of whether the tie is positive, negative, or mixed, seeking to be in close proximity to the person, and mourning the loss of the person. The Attachment Network Questionnaire (ANQ) was developed to measure multiple adult attachment relationships and to examine the characteristics of attachment hierarchies. 223 university students completed the ANQ by listing their significant relationships and then ranking these persons in terms of the various components of attachment. A subset of the participants was followed up to examine the one month test-retest reliability of the ANQ. Young adult participants were found, on average, to have 5.38 attachment figures, including family members, romantic partners, and friends. The figures identified included both secure and insecure attachments. In addition, the ANQ demonstrated adequate test-retest reliability over one month.
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The evidence that people form strong attachments with their pets is briefly reviewed before identifying the characteristics of such relationships, which include pets being a source of security as well as the objects of caregiving. In evolutionary terms, pet ownership poses a problem, since attachment and devoting resources to another species are, in theory, fitness-reducing. Three attempts to account for pet keeping are discussed, as are the problems with these views. Pet keeping is placed into the context of other forms of interspecific associations. From this, an alternative Darwinian explanation is proposed: pets are viewed as manipulating human responses that had evolved to facilitate human relationships, primarily (but not exclusively) those between parent and child. The precise mechanisms that enable pets to elicit caregiving from humans are elaborated. They involve features that provide the initial attraction, such as neotenous characteristics, and those that enable the human owner to derive continuing satisfaction from interacting with the pet, such as the attribution of mental processes to human-like organisms. These mechanisms can, in some circumstances, cause pet owners to derive more satisfaction from their pet relationship than those with humans, because they supply a type of unconditional relationship that is usually absent from those with other human beings.
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The psychometric properties of the Sibling Relationship Inventory (SRI; Stocker & McHale, 1992) were examined in two independent samples. One consisted of 206 American children aged 6-12 years, the other of 452 Dutch children aged 5-12 years. A factorial structure with three dimensions (affection, hostility, rivalry) was demonstrated. The internal consistency of the SRI scales proved adequate, even for relatively young children, aged 6-9 years. The test-retest reliability was satisfactory. Findings regarding the convergent and discriminant validity of the SRI were promising, although they need to be extended.
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Four samples of college students (N = 923) were used to address the extent to which pet dogs, relative to humans, exhibited features of an attachment figure and to identify characteristics of persons with strong attachments to their pet dogs. Dogs exhibited the feature of proximity maintenance as well as fathers and siblings did, and secure basis and proxim- ity maintenance were their most salient features. Differences in the closeness of relationships with dogs versus humans were minimal for students with high levels of attachment to their dogs. Attachment was positively linked to involvement in the care for the dog, the extent to which the dog met needs regarding relatedness, owner traits of openness, and dog traits of energy and intelligence.
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Adolescence is an important developmental period for understanding the nature, course, and treatment of depression. Recent research concerned with depressive mood, syndromes, and disorders during adolescence is reviewed, including investigations of the prevalence, course, risk factors, and prevention and treatment programs for each of these three levels of depressive phenomena in adolescence. A broad biopsychosocial perspective on adolescent depression is recommended, and possible directions for future integrative research are proposed. Based on current research and knowledge, implications for research, program , and national policy are considered.
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Determinants of pet ownership and involvement with pets by children from preschool age to preadolescence were assessed from reports of 707 parents. The relationship between pet ownership and involvement with pets and involvement in leisure and work activities by children was also examined. Child age and maternal employment were the most important predictors of both pet ownership and involvement with pets. As predicted, the availability of a pet was unrelated to children's work and leisure pursuits, but the extent of involvement with a pet was associated positively with other non-school activities, especially for second and fifth graders.
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Turning to someone in times of emotional distress (safe haven) is one key feature of an attachment bond. Aspects of pet dogs as sources of safe haven were examined with open-ended methods for two samples of young adults who were college students (total n = 566, mean age = 19.24 years). Based on ranked nominations, relative to other features of pet dogs as attachment figures, safe haven was the least salient. Nonetheless, although participants were less likely to turn to pet dogs than to mothers, friends, and romantic partners in times of distress, they were more likely to turn to pets than to fathers and brothers and just as likely to turn to sisters. Differences between pet dogs and some humans as sources of safe haven were smallest for participants with high levels of involvement in the care of their dogs and participants who regarded their dogs as strongly meeting needs for relatedness. It is concluded that characteristics of both the dog and the owner predispose young adults to regard their dogs as a source of safe haven and serve as one basis for establishing attachment bonds with them.
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This article examines whether the human-companion animal relation, and in particular attachment, can be explained and understood with the help of attachment theory and the “internal working model.” The (perceived) social support and responsivity of the human-animal bond and how these relate to the attachment theory are also discussed. The research, however, found only weak relationships between owning a companion animal and attachment. Other factors that could influence the attachment of owners toward their animals are discussed.
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This paper reviews the patterns and effects of early adolescents' involvement in the care of animals and the relationship between that experience and selected family and individual variables. It provides baseline data on early adolescents and animal involvement concerning: species of animals, family income, family relationships, parental views of animal raising, animal owner self-esteem and self-management, and the view of youth on the benefits of animal involvement.
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Despite the widespread ownership of pet animals in American families, there is very little analysis of the role of pets in child development. This paper will examine the influence of pet animals on child development; the impact of pet loss and bereavement on children; the problem of child cruelty to animals and its relationship to child abuse; and the role of pets in both normal and disturbed families. The authors will also review their own research study of adult prisoners and juveniles in institutions in regard to their experiences with pet animals.
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Reviews research on the influence of external environments on the functioning of families as contexts of human development. Investigations of the interaction of genetics and environment in family processes; transitions and linkages between the family and other major settings influencing development, such as hospitals, daycare, peer groups, school, social networks, the world of work (both for parents and children), and neighborhoods and communities; and public policies affecting families and children are included. A 2nd major focus is on the patterning of environmental events and transitions over the life course as these affect and are affected by intrafamilial processes. External systems affecting the family are categorized as meso-, exo-, and chronosystem models. Identified as areas for future research are ecological variations in the expression of genotypes, relations between the family and other child settings, relations between family processes and parental participation in other settings of adult life, and families in broader social contexts. (4 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
[identify] familial correlates of sibling relationship qualities / emphasize the extent of congruence across family experiences; harmony or the absence of dysfunction in various dimensions of family life is generally linked to positive sibling relationship qualities interactions as the "main effects" in research on children's family relationships / studying sibling relationship patterns in context / analysis of children's daily activities with siblings / contextual differences in children's sibling experiences / identifying patterns in children's sibling and family experiences (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Tested the hypothesis that children would report that different social-network members provide different social provisions, using 199 5th–6th grade White children. Ss completed network of relationships inventories, which assessed 10 qualities of their relationships with mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, friends, and teachers. Consistent with R. S. Weiss's (1974) theory (i.e., that individuals seek specific social provisions or types of social support in their relationships with others), Ss reported seeking different provisions from different individuals. Mothers and fathers were turned to most often for affection, enhancement of worth, a sense of reliable aid, and instrumental aid. Next to parents, grandparents were turned to most often for affection and enhancement of worth, and teachers were turned to most often for instrumental aid. Friends were the greatest source of companionship, and friends and mothers received the highest ratings of intimacy. Ss also reported having more power in their relationships with other children than in those with adults. Conflict was perceived as occurring most often in sibling relationships. Ss were most satisfied with their relationships with mothers, and they thought their relationships with mothers and fathers were the most important. Bases for children's differentiations of their relationships and implications for understanding social networks are discussed. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
provide an overview of attachment theory / review the evidence with respect to the major claims of attachment theory: (a) that individual differences in attachment are rooted in patterns of early [caregiver–infant] interaction (the quality of care), (b) that patterns of dyadic regulation provide the basis for individual differences in the emerging self, and (c) that such early differences have implications for evolving patterns of adaptation in later development / review theory and research on processes and mechanisms of continuity in development within attachment theory / present recent work on implications of attachment differences for psychopathology (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Reports efforts to validate the Pet Attachment Survey (PAS) of the Center for the Study of Human–Animal Relationships and Environments (CENSHARE). Data from 2 pet owning populations (a total of 257 Ss) were collected to determine whether the instrument validated statements about attachment. Derived by standard psychological scaling methods, the PAS is an internally consistent instrument that can be used to measure human attachment to dogs and cats along 2 dimensions: Relationship Maintenance and Intimacy. The PAS appears to be a viable instrument for empirical research on the human–animal bond. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Although commonly cited as explanations for patterns of sibling similarity and difference, observational learning and sibling deidentification processes have rarely been examined directly. Using a person-oriented approach, we identified patterns in adolescents' perceptions of sibling influences and connected these patterns to sibling similarities and differences and sibling relationship qualities. Participants included two adolescent-age siblings (firstborn age M = 16.39, second-born age M = 13.78) from 171 maritally intact families. Two-stage cluster analyses revealed three sibling influence profiles: modeling, deidentification, and non-reference. Analyses revealed differences in the correlations between firstborn and second-born siblings' personal qualities across the three groups and differences in the sibling relationship qualities of younger siblings who reported modeling vs. those who reported deidentifying from their older siblings. Discussion focuses on refining the study of sibling influence processes.
Article
This paper reports results from a ‘natural experiment’ taking place in China on the impact of dogs on owners’ health. Previous Western research has reported modest health benefits, but results have remained controversial. In China pets were banned in urban areas until 1992. Since then dog ownership has grown quite rapidly in the major cities, especially among younger women. In these quasi-experimental conditions, we hypothesise that dog ownership will show greater health benefits than in the West. Results are given from a survey of women aged 25–40 in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (N=3031). Half the respondents owned dogs and half did not. Owners reported better health-related outcomes. They exercised more frequently, slept better, had higher self-reported fitness and health, took fewer days off sick from work and were seen less by doctors. The concluding section indicates how these results may be integrated and suggests further research on the potential economic benefits of pets.
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The experience of becoming and having a sibling is a common situation for many preschool children. In order to clarify the implications of such an event for the older preschool child, the authors have surveyed the literature and interviewed a series of families where there was a second or third birth. This is a preliminary communication where a broad overview of the many variables involved is sought. Varied techniques for preparing the older preschool sibling were observed, as were varied coping mechanisms employed by the older child in adjusting to the change in his family status. Fourteen variables are discussed, and suggestions are made for further research.
Article
Unipolar depressive disorder in adolescence is common worldwide but often unrecognised. The incidence, notably in girls, rises sharply after puberty and, by the end of adolescence, the 1 year prevalence rate exceeds 4%. The burden is highest in low-income and middle-income countries. Depression is associated with substantial present and future morbidity, and heightens suicide risk. The strongest risk factors for depression in adolescents are a family history of depression and exposure to psychosocial stress. Inherited risks, developmental factors, sex hormones, and psychosocial adversity interact to increase risk through hormonal factors and associated perturbed neural pathways. Although many similarities between depression in adolescence and depression in adulthood exist, in adolescents the use of antidepressants is of concern and opinions about clinical management are divided. Effective treatments are available, but choices are dependent on depression severity and available resources. Prevention strategies targeted at high-risk groups are promising.
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Aquí se expone la influyente teoría interpersonal de la psiquiatría desarrollada por Sullivan a partir del psicoanálisis.