Pet Attachment

by ewolf2 on November 4, 2013 - 10:46pm

Carri Wesgarth (2013) claims that gender and socioeconomic status are related to pet ownership and their attachment. She designed an experiment using children within the Liverpool Local Education Authority with a questionnaire. Children questioned were ages 9-10 and were asked about their demographics, and their pets currently owned or within the past 5 years. The strength of the relationship was a key part of her study. This measurement was used with a scale called the CENSHARE Pet Attachment Scale, which included a serious of 27 questions. The experiment included 1,024 children with 96% of children reported living in a house. “There was no evidence associated with the number of siblings a child had” (Wesgarth 2013). Dog variation did not depend on gender or sibling status as well. Wesgarth found that 88.4% of children indicated their favorite pet was a dog and there was no evidence to support a stronger attachment to pets based on gender. The results have shown that dogs are more common and children have more of an attachment to dogs than any other pet.

            The author’s key question is unclear in her research experiment. Wesgarth states that she wants to know the relationship between children’s demographics and their attachment but the methods used for the data were not specific. She asks the children about their demographics but does not ask about the type of relationship they had with their pet. The results conclude that gender and sibling status play no role in attachment to the pet but Wesgarth does not give a specific example of how the attachment is measured. I think peoples’ attachment to their animals differs from others and people have a different meaning of the word “attachment”. Another approach Wesgarth could have done would be to observe the homes of the children with the pet. In order for them to determine the attachment they should look for affection and time spent together. Wesgarth’s results have found no relationship between children’s home life and attachment to pets. Her question remains unsolved because she states that her results found that “gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status were associated with attachment to the pet” but her data does not prove this at all. Wesgarth contradicts herself in her conclusion and does not provide validity in her research.  


Westgarth, C., Boddy, L. M., Stratton, G., German, A. J., Gaskell, R. M., Coyne, K. P., & ... Dawson, S. (2013). Pet ownership, dog types and attachment to pets in 9-10 year old children in Liverpool, UK. BMC Veterinary Research, 9(1), 1-10.

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