Parental Perceptions of Their Children's Involvement with Household Pets: A Test of a Specificity Model of Nurturance

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To test hypotheses derived from a specificity model of the development of children's nurturance, parents of preschool, second-grade and fifth-grade children (n=707) reported the frequency of their children's play with and care of pets as well as play and care directed to younger siblings, non-family babies, and elderly persons. Parents also reported on their children's frequency of expressed interest in animals, babies, and nurture in general. As predicted, gender differences were found for frequency of time spent with babies but not with pets. Frequency of time with pets was related to expressed interest in animals but not in babies. Children who had pets but no younger siblings were reported to spend more time with pets than were children with both pets and younger siblings. Children without pets were reported to express interest in babies more often than did pet owning children.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 1996

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