Child-animal companionship and its impact on development of social behaviour during early childhood

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Weihrauch, Mareike
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Based on Levinson’s observation this study is interested in the early child-animal interaction and its influence on social behaviour. For the purpose of the study 185 parents (n=109 with pet ownership, n=76 without pet ownership) from kindergarten in Germany were asked to fill out the Social Behaviour Questionnaire, evaluation their child’s social behaviour. Statistically significant differences were found between pro-social behaviour of children with pet ownership (M=13.393, SD=3.406) and children without pet ownership (M=10.474, SD=3.840), t (181) = 5.417, p < .001,2-tailed. Further analyses found statistically significant differences on social behaviour in relation to gender and animal ownership, between siblings and animals and between the different species of animals. Author keywords: Child-animal interaction, pro-social behaviour, problematic behaviour