Pets, Networks and Well-Being

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Abstract:

This study explores two explanations for well-being among older adults: social network analysis and human–animal relations. The data are based on a stratified probability sample of community living adults, aged 60 years and over, located in several rural communities in north-eastern Oregon. The dependent variables include three distinct measures of psychological well-being: life satisfaction, locus of control, and self-esteem. The independent variables include pet ownership and various measures of the personal network of respondents, including network structural variables (range, density, and frequency of contact) and network content variables (both instrumental and expressive). Control variables include socio-demographic characteristics and a measure of physical health. Multiple regression analysis is used to estimate the effects of the independent and control variables. Pet ownership was related to two of the well-being measures – self-esteem and locus of control – but only for men. Some methodological and theoretical implications are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279301786999517

Publication date: June 1, 2001

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