Alright, here's the final paper I'll be submitting tomorrow. Since it's like 20 (double-spaced) pages long, I've put each of the sections behind their own cuts for ease-of-browsing. If you read the proposal, then not much has changed in the first few sections. I added a section to the lit review looking at gender differences in pet attachment. I moved my expected results out of the methods section and back into the literature as a series of hypotheses in relation to the research question. The methods has been updated with data about the sample, so that might be worth checking out. Everything else is new, though.
Pet Attachment and Human Attachment Style
Brandon J Greenstreet
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dr. Christine Cooper
Communication 482: Capstone
April 26, 2009
This article represents a new line of inquiry into the relationship between human communication and interspecies communication by examining the degree of variance in pet attachment by human attachment style within the framework of Attachment theory. Survey data was gathered from University of Alaska Fairbanks staff, students, and faculty who own pets. Overall, no significance was found, however, significant differences were found for men. No significant differences were found for women, who scored uniformly high on pet attachment regardless of style. This lends support to a connection between human communication and interspecies communication.
Pet Ownership and Attachment Style
Over half of American households own at least one companion animal, often viewed as a person, even a member of the family (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988; Shell, 1986). It has been known for some time that companion animals play important therapeutic and emotional maintenance roles (Gage & Holcomb, 1991), so it should come as no surprise that there exists a relatively large body of research concerning companion animals.
However, the vast majority of these studies have been limited to the therapeutic benefits of pet ownership (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988). Much of the remaining research has focused on companion animals' roles and functions within the family. Virtually no research exists examining the link between pet ownership and the owner's communication style.
It is the goal of this study to examine the relationship between ownership, degree of pet attachment, and the owner's attachment style. First, the literature on companion animals and attachment theory will be examined. The methods utilized will then be described, followed by the results. Lastly, a discussion of the results as well as limitations of the current study are presented with suggestions for future research.
Despite past calls for increased study of companion animals in the social sciences (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988), the available literature is sparse and often broad. This review will focus on perceptions of companion animals within the home (particularly, their perceived personhood) and their owner's attachment to them. Then, the communication variable of attachment style will be explored. Because no previous available literature has examined the interaction of these two variables, new inferences will be drawn from the available research.
Attachment to Companion Animals
Companion animals are often treated and viewed as humans (Shell, 1986). They are given human food, their birthdays are celebrated, they are given names, they even have their own cemeteries, mimicking human burial rites. In most households, pets are viewed as and often fill the roles of family members (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988; Shell, 1986). They can serve as emotional substitutes for family members, which “can contribute to the morale maintenance of people who live alone or with few others” (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988, 550). Gage and Holcomb (1991) describe these roles as the surrogate child, the intimate companion, and the distant companion.
There do appear to be some differences in how men and women relate to animals. For instance, women involved in the animal rights movement vastly outnumber men (Bell, et al., 1996). They tend to exhibit greater concern for the moral treatment of animals, are less inclined towards utilitarian views of animals, and are more likely than men to “take action to promote animal welfare” (Herzog, Betchart, & Pittman, 1991; as cited in Bell et al., 1996, p. 465). In their analysis of the 1993 General Social Survey (a probability survey of English-speakers over the age of 18 within the continental United States), Bell et al. hoped to discover “an egalitarian gender ideology arising from women's structural experiences with oppression and domination” as the basis for such gender differences in the animal rights movement (1996, p. 465), but were only able to find partial support for this hypothesis. At this time, the most viable explanations seem based in women's gendered roles as caregivers. Many researchers (Galvin & Herzog, 1992; Herzog, Betchart, & Pittman, 1991; Kellert & Berry, 1987) explain these gender differences as a function of women's gendered roles as caregivers and nurturers (as cited in Bell et al., 1996, p. 465); “maternal thinking... promotes a concern for persons whose well-being is at risk” (Bell et al., 1996, p. 465). It is also likely that women identify more strongly with companion animals due to women's structural location within the household (Bell et al., 1996); as the primary caretakers, animal care often is the responsibility of the wife or mother. This might explain why Gage and Holcomb (1991) found that the death of a family pet is often more stressful for wives than husbands.
Traditionally, having such an intimate connection with an owned animal was not the norm. Not long ago in America, animals were primarily viewed as objects to be owned, traded, and used (Sanders, 1995). Nonhuman, normally, is synonymous with nonperson. However, companion animals “exist in the liminal position between the socially constructed categories of person/being and that of nonperson/object” (p. 209). Personhood is conveyed upon pets through the long-term relationships owners have with them, establishing a historical narrative of interaction and emotionalized anthropomorphism that creates a virtual person (Sanders, 1995). Sanders found in his qualitative study of a veterinary hospital that veterinarians gave or took away an animal's perceived personhood based on the quality of interactions with the animal, and especially with its owner (Sanders, 1995).
There is a societal recognition that companion animals are not fully persons within the euthanasia encounter. One of a veterinarian's most time consuming and emotionally taxing tasks is to take the lives of animals at their owner's request (Sanders, 1995). For euthanasia cases that veterinarians perceived as legitimate, animals were only “put down” due to an untreatable degradation in the animal's quality of life, cases where the animal was suffering and would only continue to suffer (Sanders, 1995). The moral ambiguity of such encounters, though notable, is considerably less than those encountered with human patients, where euthanasia is rarely ever seen as a “viable final option” (Sanders, 1995, p. 199). Sanders attributed this to the fact that animals, lacking language, are unable to construct concepts, do not possess a sense of self, and are therefore unable to conceptualize self-loss; “as sentient beings they can suffer, but they cannot conceive of or fear death” (Sanders, 1995, p. 209).
This is not to say that the death of a companion animal does not carry emotional weight. Sanders found that veterinarians often find themselves simultaneously filling the roles of the detached medical professional as well as counselor (1995). Gage and Holcomb (1991) note that the death of the family pet can carry “intense feelings of guilt” (p. 104).Clearly, if companion animals' deaths can be such traumatic events, the life of those animals holds much significance and meaning for their owners.
Albert and Bulcroft (1988) studied the demographics of households who own pets to gain some insight into the function and role of pets in the home. The researchers discovered a number of household demographic variables that effect the degree of attachment between owner and companion animal. These include marital status, the number of children, children present in the household, the species of pet, and the stage in family life cycle (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988).
While it is exceedingly common for families with grammar-school-age and teenage children to have pets, attachment tends to be low; ownership seems to arise largely out of a belief that pets perform beneficial functions for children (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988). Attachment to the pet is at its lowest when the household contains infants, during which the companion animal may become another source of stress during a difficult and time-consuming transition period, rather than a source of affection and empathetic support (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988). The degree of companion animal attachment is comparatively quite high for empty-nesters and newly-weds, particularly for remarried people, suggesting that for stressful transitions, the companionship, affection, and support of a pet may be especially valued (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988). In addition, Albert and Bulcroft (1988) found high degrees of attachment for the divorced, never-married, childless couples, and the elderly widowed, suggesting the importance of companion animals as emotional substitutes; “As givers and receivers of affection, pets can contribute to … morale maintenance” (p. 550). Attachment was also found to be highest for dog owners, possibly due to the high degree of affection dogs characteristically express towards their owners (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988).
In their examination of attachment, Albert and Bulcroft (1988) found that an individual's tendency to anthropomorphize their pets factored out into a distinct dimension. Dog owners once again scored high on this dimension, perceiving their pet species as the most adept at expressing affection and emotional support. Anthropomorphism scores were also high for childless couples and households with no children present, again pointing to companion animals' ability to fill these roles (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988).
Albert and Bulcroft took note that companion animals seem to be particularly important for the never-married, the divorced, the remarried, the widowed, childless couples, and empty-nesters (p. 551). Demographic changes in the United States indicate that these groups are growing. The importance of companion animals in the lives of Americans, then, must be growing as well.
Attachment theory, as originally developed by Bowlby in the 70's and early 80's, posits that infants form a stable model of self and others through interactions with their primary caregivers and that this cognitive model would influence the infant's attachment style throughout their life (Baxter & Simon, 1993). Indeed, longitudinal studies suggest that infant-attachment style is a stable indicator of attachment behaviors ten years later (Baxter & Simon, 1993).
Early research (Ainsworth et. al., 1978; Hazan and Shaver, 1987) posited three styles of attachment: Secure, Anxious/ambivalent, and Avoidant (Baxter & Simon, 1993; Dainton, 2007). Later research (Bartholomew, 1990; Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991) reorganized attachment behaviors by two dimensions: models of self and models of other (Baxter & Simon, 1993; Dainton, 2007). Models of self measure a sense of self-worth. High self-worth scores indicates little need for external validation and high self-regard, whereas low self-worth scores indicate low self-esteem and that self-esteem is maintained through acceptance of self by others (Baxter & Simon, 1993). Models of other measure an individual's general views of other people; individuals who score high on this dimension consider others to be trustworthy, whereas low scorers often see others as distant and uncaring (Baxter & Simon, 1993).
Interactions between the two dimensions produces four distinct styles: the Secure style and the three non-secure styles, Preoccupied, Fearful, and Dismissing (Baxter & Simon, 1993). Both the Secure and Preoccupied styles correspond to the Secure and Anxious/ambivalent, respectively, of Hazan and Shaver's earlier 3-category model of attachment style (Baxter & Simon, 1993). Bartholomew found that Hazan and Shaver's Avoidant style could be expanded into the two variant styles of Fearful and Dismissing (Baxter & Simon, 1993). Individual's with a Secure attachment style report high self-esteem, a generally positive regard of others, greater satisfaction with personal relationships, and greater perceptions of relational quality, based on measures of intimacy, commitment, and trust (Baxter & Simon, 1993). Individual's with the Secure attachment style are “comfortable with both intimacy and autonomy” (Baxter & Simon, 1993, 419). The Preoccupied attachment style is characterized by a generally positive regard for others and low self-esteem (Baxter & Simon, 1993). Typically, these individual's are often highly dependent on others, to the point of obsession. Those with a Dismissing attachment style often have a positive model of self, but a negative model of others (Baxter & Simon, 1993). Thus, these individuals are typically avoidant, arising through a sense of self-confidence and a desire for independence. Lastly, individuals with a Fearful attachment style tend to have a “low regard for both self and other” (Baxter and Simon, 1993, p. 418), as they view others as generally unaccepting, yet their self-validation is dependent on acceptance by others. Attachment behaviors for this style are often avoidant and ambivalent.
Although “attachment style is correlated with a person's capacity to achieve positive relational outcomes,” little is understood concerning the process by which this happens (Baxter & Simon, 1993, p. 419). One possibility is initial partner selection: secure individuals may report greater relational satisfaction due to their overwhelming tendency to select secure partners, rather than as a result of their relational behaviors. The positive self-esteem exhibited by secure individuals, as well as their ability to balance autonomy and connection, may cause them to be perceived as more satisfying relational partners. Baxter and Simon (1993) noted that previous evidence for this explanation is modest and ultimately found evidence to the contrary in their own study.
The correlation between attachment style and the capacity to achieve relational satisfaction might also be explained by ongoing relational maintenance efforts (Baxter & Simon, 1993). If attachment style is meant to be an indicator of communicative interaction choices based on different working models of self and other, then it seems likely that differences in attachment style would be correlated to differences in relational maintenance strategies. Both Dainton (2007) and Baxter and Simon (1993) found that the secure attachment style is positively related to relational maintenance behaviors, while dismissive attachment style is negatively related. As both of these studies tested for correlation, no conclusions can be drawn concerning causation, but Dainton (2007) observes that the positive relationship between attachment style and relational satisfaction suggests that maintenance communication is the link between these two variables.
Baxter and Simon (1993) also point out “attachment style assesses dispositional attachment to others in general” (p. 426); attachment style is an indicator of common attachment behaviors towards generalized others, as opposed to the specific attachment behaviors exhibited in a particular dyadic relationship. This would help to explain the lack of significant differences found by Larsen et. al. in their 1998 study of sixty-two married couples with one child approaching one year of age and one or more children between the ages of two and six. For these long-established relationships, no differences were found among attachment style groups for self-esteem. Significant differences were found for relational dyads consisting of two individuals with secure attachment styles compared to non-secure pairings, but no significant differences were found between the various non-secure style dyads. These findings suggest that the predictive power of attachment style might be diminished for more intimate and developed relationships. In other words, an individual's attachment style might be adapted to a specific person over the course of the relationship.
Due to the dearth of research on the interaction of these two variables, it is difficult to determine what possible outcomes might be expected. For instance, it is a common belief that companion animals express an unconditional love and affection for their owners and do not make judgments on them. Therefore, individuals may form attachments differently than they typically would with humans, but it is not clear at this time how or why pet-owner attachment might differ from human attachment.
Given their general ease with intimacy and attachment, one might expect that Secure individuals would form the closest relationships with their pets. However, because they are more likely to already possess satisfying relationships, Secure individuals may have less need of and motivation for forming a close relationship with a companion animal, or even owning a pet at all. Likewise, Dismissing individuals, with their desire for independence and ambivalence towards forming close relationships, may perceive little need or benefits from forming intimate attachment with their companion animal.
Fearful individuals, on the other hand, may score very high for attachment to their pet. Their distrust of others may not apply to companion animals. These individuals perceive personal validation as a result of acceptance by others, so their relationships with companion animals may play an important role in the maintenance of their self-esteem.
The same role-fulfillment may also be true for Preoccupied individuals. Their desire for high levels of intimacy may be off-putting for other humans in their lives, but likely not for their pets. Their generally high regard of others, however, may allow them to achieve higher degrees of attachment with their companion animals than do Fearful individuals.
Secure individuals, then, likely lack the role-fulfillment need of fearful and preoccupied individuals and thus may score lower on pet attachment. Dismissing individuals will likely have the lowest scores for pet attachment, having a reduced desire to form attachments in the first place. Depending on whether their trust/distrust of others applies to companion animals, either Preoccupied or Fearful individuals may score highest for pet attachment.
All of these hypotheses are, of course, little more than educated guesses. Currently, there is no available research examining the relationship between an individual's attachment style and the degree of attachment with their pets. Thus, the aim of this study is to answer the following research question:
RQ: To what degree does pet attachment vary among individuals by human attachment style?
The sample consisted of forty-two individual respondents, fifteen of them male (36.6%), twenty-six female (63.4%). The majority of the sample were students (82.9%) and lived off-campus (78%). Staff accounted for only 4.9% of the sample, while faculty composed the remaining 12.2%. Children were present in 39% of households. Over half (53.6%) of participants indicated household population sizes of three or four people. Two-person households made up 17.1% of the sample, while 21.9% of participants lived in households with five or more people. Participants who lived alone accounted for the remaining 7.3%.
In order to answer the research question, a questionnaire-based survey was administered. The survey employed the use of two different measures. The first, Bartholomew's Attachment Style measure determines the participant's attachment style. The second, Albert & Bulcroft's Pet Attachment Scale (α = .8496 ), creates an attachment score indicating the participant's degree of attachment with their companion animal. The survey also collected a number of demographic variables to provide greater context for the findings (see Appendix B). The results of the survey were then subjected to an ANOVA statistical analysis to determine what relationships exist between the four-category independent variable (attachment style) and the continuous dependent variable (degree of companion animal attachment).
Based on an individual's models of self and other, attachment style is a categorical description of the behaviors associated with particular styles of forming bonds with others. Attachment style will be determined using Bartholomew and Horowitz's Attachment Style Measure (see Appendix C). This is a four-category forced-choice measure, based on Hazan and Shaver's 1987 3-category measure. A short paragraph describes each of the four attachment styles, Secure, Preoccupied, Fearful, and Dismissing. Participants then select the style that best describes themselves.
Degree of Attachment
Attachment is here defined as feelings of intimacy, caring, and attachment to their companion animal (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988). To measure attachment, Albert and Bulcroft's Pet Attachment Scale is used (see Appendix D). The measure has nine items using a Likert-type response scale. These include items such as “(Pet's name) makes me feel loved” and “I feel closer to (pet's name) than to many of my friends.” Participants are asked to rate the extent to which they agree or disagree with each statement on a scale of one to five with one indicating strong disagreement and five indicating strong agreement. Responses are added together to produce an overall score.
To determine the degree of variance in pet attachment by respondent attachment style, a one-way ANOVA statistical test will be conducted. Attachment style serves as a four-category independent variable. The Pet Attachment score will provide a continuous level dependent variable. The results of this test should indicate what relationship, if any, exists between the degree of pet attachment and an individual's attachment style.
This study sought to answer the following research question: to what degree do individuals vary in their attachment to pets by their attachment style? The data gathered is presented below with an overview of the descriptive statistics. Statistical analysis answering the research question is then presented.
General distributions of the sample by attachment style are presented in Table 1.
[So yeah, I have no idea how to format a table for lj]
The table illustrates that fearful, secure, and dismissing attachment styles each accounted for roughly one third of the sample. Only two respondents (4.9%) chose preoccupied as their attachment style. Mean pet attachment scores broken down by gender and attachment style are presented in Table 2. [lulz]
Results of the Research Question
This study sought to discover if and how the degree of attachment to an individual's companion animal varies by that person's human attachment style. The results of all statistical tests run can be found in Table 3. [really, you're not missing much. The important numbers are presented below]
A one-way ANOVA found no significant differences (F(3, 37) = 1.266, p > .05). However, significant differences did emerge after controlling for gender. A separate one-way ANOVA was run for each gender. Mean pet attachment scores did not vary significantly for women (F(3, 22) = 1.683, p > .05). However, mean scores did vary significantly for men (F(2, 12) = 6.196, p < .05) for the dismissing style (M = 2.488, SD = .512) with both the secure (M = 3.755, SD = .801) and fearful styles (M = 3.533, SD = .411).
The research literature indicated that pet attachment may vary by gender. To test for a gender effect, a t-test comparing men and women's pet attachment scores was performed. No significant differences were found (t(39) = -1.602, p > .05). Similarly, the presence of children in the household has previously been found to negatively affect pet attachment scores. A t-test compared respondents mean attachment scores with the presence or absence of children. No significant differences were found (t(39) = .647, p > .05).
The results from this study suggest there is a connection between human attachment style and degree of pet attachment, at least for males. Secure and Fearful men in this sample tend to hold greater degrees of intimacy and attachment for their pets than Dismissing men. Significant differences in mean scores of pet attachment were found between Secure men and Dismissing men, as well as between Fearful men and Dismissing men. The same did not hold true for women, who seem to have ubiquitously high scores of pet attachment, regardless of their attachment style.
The results for men seem to agree with some of the hypotheses proposed early in this study. Dismissing men did score the lowest on pet attachment. Dismissing individuals tend to internally self-validate and often see little need to form attachments. It seems these characteristics held true for the Dismissing men of this sample.
It was also hypothesized that Fearful individuals would achieve the highest pet attachment scores. For Fearful individuals, the self is validated through external acceptance, but those bearing this attachment style tend to distrust and withdraw from others. It is a generally held belief that animals do not judge (at least, not in the sense that humans judge one another), and therefore a companion animal could hold important emotional maintenance roles for Fearful individuals.
Though the difference was not significant, mean scores for Secure men were higher than those of Fearful men (see Table 3). In human attachment, we can usually expect Secure individuals to achieve greater degrees of intimacy and attachment with others than any of the three non-Secure styles. However, in the case of interspecies attachments, it was hypothesized that Secure individuals would actually score lower on pet attachment, as they possess less need than non-Secures for the emotional support and maintenance a companion animal provides. Again, the difference could very well be due to chance, but it may be possible that Secure individuals' general comfort with human attachments and their ease in forming them also extends to attachments with other species.
While previous research has noted gender differences in the ways humans relate to their companion animals (Bell et al., 1996; Gage & Holcomb, 1991), the lack of any significant differences in pet attachment by women's attachment style in this study was unexpected. Baxter and Simon (1993) noted “attachment style is correlated with a person's capacity to achieve positive relational outcomes” (p. 419) and no available research has indicated a link between gender and any particular attachment style, which suggested there would not be any gender differences. It may be that women's gendered roles as caregivers results in ubiquitously high pet attachment, largely masking any changes in affect attributable to attachment style.
Contrary to previous research (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988), no significant differences were observed in pet attachment due to the presence or absence of children in the household. Albert and Bulcroft (1988) had found that households with children present generally had lower degrees of pet attachment, whereas households without children tended to have high pet attachment, suggesting that companion animals can fulfill similar emotional roles as children. This seems sensible: with more time and energy focused on children, household members would have less resources to expend on their relationship with the family pet. Likewise, the absence of children would allow considerable time and effort resources to be spent on the care and instruction of a companion animal, allowing for the development of more intimate interspecies relationships. With nearly 40% of participants reporting the presence of children, the lack of any significant difference seems strange. More information on stage in the family lifecycle, as well as the age and number of children may have provided some context, but none was gathered for this study.
The results found here are tempered somewhat by the lack of participants who possess the Preoccupied style. It may be that the Preoccupied style simply occurs less frequently – an explanation neither supported nor rejected by the literature examined here – and thus necessitates larger sample sizes. However, it may also be that forced-choice measures of attachment style are flawed. For example, in Bartholomew and Horowitz's measure used for this study, the descriptions of Fearful and Preoccupied styles, while different, are not strictly mutually exclusive. As the description of Fearful style was listed first, it may have been unduly weighted over the last available option, Preoccupied.
Dainton (2007) suggests these measures may suffer from more fundamental flaws. She notes that a second approach has been developed using Likert-type items to assess the underlying dimensions of attachment. “In a direct comparison of these techniques, Fraley and Waller (1998) found that attachment is best understood as dimensional” (Dainton, 2007, p. 288). Dainton goes on in that article to recommend a continuous measure of attachment based on work by Guerrero and Burgoon published in 1996. Given the vague delineations between Fearful and Preoccupied styles in Bartholomew and Horowitz's measure and the unexplained lack of Preoccupied responses, it is the recommendation of this study that future research utilize these more objective, dimensional assessments of attachment style.
As shown in Appendix B, participants were asked to report the number of pets owned, grouped by species. This data would prove unusable due to a flaw in the presentation of the pet attachment measure. Participants were asked to answer all pet attachment items while considering the companion animal they felt closest to, but at no point were asked what the species of that animal was. As 61.9% of the sample owned more than one species of pet, no conclusions could be drawn regarding pet attachment and the species of pet.
Despite these limitations, these findings do suggest a connection, if tenuous, between human and interspecies communication. The types of communication behaviors a person engages in with other humans may be a predictor of the types of behaviors and relationships that individual may engage in with a companion animal. With over half of United States households containing at least one companion animal, the need for further research in interspecies communication is strong. It may well be that further examination of interspecies communication will reveal unexplored facets of human communication ripe for study.
Pets and Personality
I am Brandon J Greenstreet and I am conducting a study for my Communication 482: Capstone course to explore relationships between people and their pets. You are being asked to participate as someone who is a member of the University of Alaska Fairbanks staff, faculty, and/or student body and a pet owner. If you participate you will be 1 of approximately 50 participants. The benefit of your participation in this study is that your valuable input may lead to further understanding of the nature of attachment, particularly attachment to companion animals.
A survey consisting of various questions concerning communication and your relationship with your companion animal will be asked in order to obtain your insight. The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. However, there is no time limit in filling out the survey and honest, thoughtful, and accurate comments are encouraged and fully appreciated.
It is important to understand that your participation in this study is completely voluntary. You have the right to discontinue participation at any time without any negative consequences. By answering the questions on the survey, you are acknowledging your agreement to participate in this study.
Your name or any form of personal identification will not be requested. No identifying information will be disclosed or shared with any commercial or private entity. All responses are confidential and your anonymity is secure.
If you have any questions or comments concerning your participation in this study or to request a copy of the results, you may contact my research supervisor Dr. Christine Cooper at (907) 474-5060 or email@example.com. You may also contact the Office of Research Integrity at (907) 474-7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your participation.
Please keep this form for your records.
Pets and Relationships
1.Please indicate your sex: __ Male __ Female
2.Please indicate your primary relationship with the University.
___ Student ___ Staff ___ Faculty
3.Where do you live? ___ On campus ___ Off campus
4.Please indicate which of the following pets are in your household and how many of each type.
Pet Number of Animals
__ Cat ___
__ Dog ___
__ Bird ___
__ Mouse ___
__ Rat ___
__ Snake ___
__ Rabbit ___
__ Hamster ___
__ Fish ___
__ Lizard ___
__ Guinea Pig ___
__ Other (_____________) ___
5.Including yourself, how many (human) people live in your household?
6.Are there children present in the household? __ Yes __ No
Attachment Style Measure
Participants read each of the following short paragraphs describing one of the four attachment styles and selected which they felt reflected their own personality closest. Included here are identifying labels in capitals that were removed for the final survey.
___ I am somewhat uncomfortable getting close to others. I want emotionally close relationships, but find it difficult to trust others completely, or to depend on them. I sometimes worry that I will be hurt if I allow myself to become too close to others. (FEARFUL)
___ It is relatively easy for me to become emotionally close to others. I am comfortable depending on others and having others depend on me. I don't worry about being alone or having others not accept me. (SECURE)
___ I am comfortable without close emotional relationships. It is very important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient, and I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me. (DISMISSING)
___ I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I am uncomfortable being without close relationships, but sometimes I worry that others don't value me as much as I value them. (PREOCCUPIED)
Pet Attachment Measure
Participants were asked to rate the extent to which they agree or disagree with each of the following nine statements on a scale of one to five, with one indicating strong disagreement and five indicating strong agreement. Responses were added together to produce an overall score. If the participant had more than one pet, he or she was asked to consider the pet they felt closest to when choosing their responses.
1.I feel closer to (pet's name) than to many of my friends.
2.I like (pet's name) because he/she accepts me no matter what I do.
3.(Pet's name) makes me feel loved.
4.(Pet's name) gives me something to talk about with others.
5.I feel closer to (pet's name) than to other family members.
6.(Pet's name) keeps me from being lonely.
7.I like (pet's name) because he/she is more loyal than other people in my life
8.(Pet's name) gives me something to take care of.
9.There are times when (pet's name) is my closest companion.
Albert, A. & Bulcroft, K. (1988). Pets, families, and the life course. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50 (2), 543-552.
Bartholomew, K., & Horowitz, L.M. (1991). Attachment styles among young adults: A test of a four-category model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 61 (2), 226-224.
Baxter, L. A., & Simon, E. P. (1993). Attachment-style differences in relationship maintenance strategies. Western Journal of Communication, 57 (4), 416-430.
Bell, N. J., Dunham, C. C., & Peek, C. W. (1996). Gender, gender ideology, and animal rights advocacy. Gender and Society, 10 (4), 464-478.
Dainton, M. (2007). Attachment and marital maintenance. Communication Quarterly, 55 (3), 283-298.
Gage, M. G. & Holcomb, R. (1991). Couple's perception of death of the family pet. Family Relations. 40 (1), 103-105.
Larsen, J. J., Notaro, P. C., & Volling, B. L. (1998). Adult attachment styles: Relations with emotional well-being, marriage, and parenting. Family Relations, 47 (4), 355-367.
Sanders, C. R. (1995). Killing with kindness: Veterinary euthanasia and the social construction of personhood. Sociological Forum, 10 (2), 195-214.
Shell, M. (1986). The family pet. Representations, 15, 121-153.
And just in case anyone is wondering, I freely offer this work to anyone it may help. All I ask is that you cite me as the source.
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