Attachment styles impact on pet visitation effectiveness
Authors: Colby, Patricia M.; Sherman, Angela
Source: Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 1 June 2002, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 150-165(16)
Abstract:This paper describes a field study on the effects of attachment styles on the subjective well-being of institutionalized older persons after participating in a pet visitation program. We compared how attachment style (i.e., secure, anxious ambivalent, dismissive avoidant, and fearful avoidant) moderated the impact of a dog visitation program in 52 elderly residents of an assisted-living facility. Controlling for pre-visitation mood, the results revealed that the secure style related to increases in positive mood after interacting with the dogs. The anxious ambivalent style related to increases in positive mood and decreases in ratings of depression. Most importantly, the fearful avoidant style related to increases in depression after interacting with the dogs. The results highlight the notion that not all participants benefit from taking part in pet visitation programs. Theoretically, this study presents preliminary evidence for the relevance of attachment styles in understanding human–pet interactions.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2002