Attachment, social support, and perceived mental health of adult dog walkers: What does age have to do with it?

F. Ellen Netting, Cindy C. Wilson, Jeffrey L. Goodie, Mark Stephens, Christopher G. Byers, Cara H. Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In part of a larger pilot study of dog walking as a physical activity intervention we assessed levels of attachment, social supports, and perceived mental health of 75 dog owners, identified through a tertiary- care veterinary hospital. Owners completed the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Social Support Survey, mental health component of the Short-Form-12 (SF-12) Health Survey, and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS). Of particular interest was that younger owners had stronger attachments to their dogs (r = -.488; p <.001) and less social support (r =.269; p =.021). Our study suggests the importance of companion animals for social support, particularly for those without close friends/relatives. For younger owners, our study reveals vulnerabilities in support networks that may warrant referrals to human helping professionals. We suggest the use of Carstensen's Socioemotional Selectivity Theory as an interpretive framework to underscore the importance of including companion animals as part of the human social convoy, especially in terms of providing affectionate and interactional social support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-283
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Sociology and Social Welfare
Volume40
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 3 2013

Fingerprint

social support
mental health
animal
vulnerability
health

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Ellen Netting, F. ; Wilson, Cindy C. ; Goodie, Jeffrey L. ; Stephens, Mark ; Byers, Christopher G. ; Olsen, Cara H. / Attachment, social support, and perceived mental health of adult dog walkers : What does age have to do with it?. In: Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare. 2013 ; Vol. 40, No. 4. pp. 261-283.
@article{9a011e1d806e49c29314c7752c73b0d3,
title = "Attachment, social support, and perceived mental health of adult dog walkers: What does age have to do with it?",
abstract = "In part of a larger pilot study of dog walking as a physical activity intervention we assessed levels of attachment, social supports, and perceived mental health of 75 dog owners, identified through a tertiary- care veterinary hospital. Owners completed the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Social Support Survey, mental health component of the Short-Form-12 (SF-12) Health Survey, and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS). Of particular interest was that younger owners had stronger attachments to their dogs (r = -.488; p <.001) and less social support (r =.269; p =.021). Our study suggests the importance of companion animals for social support, particularly for those without close friends/relatives. For younger owners, our study reveals vulnerabilities in support networks that may warrant referrals to human helping professionals. We suggest the use of Carstensen's Socioemotional Selectivity Theory as an interpretive framework to underscore the importance of including companion animals as part of the human social convoy, especially in terms of providing affectionate and interactional social support.",
author = "{Ellen Netting}, F. and Wilson, {Cindy C.} and Goodie, {Jeffrey L.} and Mark Stephens and Byers, {Christopher G.} and Olsen, {Cara H.}",
year = "2013",
month = "12",
day = "3",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "40",
pages = "261--283",
journal = "Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare",
issn = "0191-5096",
publisher = "Western Michigan University",
number = "4",

}

Attachment, social support, and perceived mental health of adult dog walkers : What does age have to do with it? / Ellen Netting, F.; Wilson, Cindy C.; Goodie, Jeffrey L.; Stephens, Mark; Byers, Christopher G.; Olsen, Cara H.

In: Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, Vol. 40, No. 4, 03.12.2013, p. 261-283.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Attachment, social support, and perceived mental health of adult dog walkers

T2 - What does age have to do with it?

AU - Ellen Netting, F.

AU - Wilson, Cindy C.

AU - Goodie, Jeffrey L.

AU - Stephens, Mark

AU - Byers, Christopher G.

AU - Olsen, Cara H.

PY - 2013/12/3

Y1 - 2013/12/3

N2 - In part of a larger pilot study of dog walking as a physical activity intervention we assessed levels of attachment, social supports, and perceived mental health of 75 dog owners, identified through a tertiary- care veterinary hospital. Owners completed the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Social Support Survey, mental health component of the Short-Form-12 (SF-12) Health Survey, and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS). Of particular interest was that younger owners had stronger attachments to their dogs (r = -.488; p <.001) and less social support (r =.269; p =.021). Our study suggests the importance of companion animals for social support, particularly for those without close friends/relatives. For younger owners, our study reveals vulnerabilities in support networks that may warrant referrals to human helping professionals. We suggest the use of Carstensen's Socioemotional Selectivity Theory as an interpretive framework to underscore the importance of including companion animals as part of the human social convoy, especially in terms of providing affectionate and interactional social support.

AB - In part of a larger pilot study of dog walking as a physical activity intervention we assessed levels of attachment, social supports, and perceived mental health of 75 dog owners, identified through a tertiary- care veterinary hospital. Owners completed the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Social Support Survey, mental health component of the Short-Form-12 (SF-12) Health Survey, and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS). Of particular interest was that younger owners had stronger attachments to their dogs (r = -.488; p <.001) and less social support (r =.269; p =.021). Our study suggests the importance of companion animals for social support, particularly for those without close friends/relatives. For younger owners, our study reveals vulnerabilities in support networks that may warrant referrals to human helping professionals. We suggest the use of Carstensen's Socioemotional Selectivity Theory as an interpretive framework to underscore the importance of including companion animals as part of the human social convoy, especially in terms of providing affectionate and interactional social support.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84888411846&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84888411846&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84888411846

VL - 40

SP - 261

EP - 283

JO - Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

JF - Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

SN - 0191-5096

IS - 4

ER -