Pets' Roles in Parents' Bereavement

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A sample of 43 mothers and 21 fathers completed a retrospective survey concerning a pet's involvement in adaptation to a child's death. Measures included degree of attachment to the pet, and perceptions of the pet's helpfulness and roles in the process of grief resolution. Most parents (75%) indicated that their pet was helpful. Positive pet roles–a distraction, a comfort, a confidant–were positively correlated with degree of attachment to pet. Negative pet roles–a burden, a scapegoat–were negatively correlated with pet attachment. However, the presence of surviving siblings was negatively correlated with judgments of pet helpfulness, social support roles, and pet bonding itself.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 1999

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