The relationship between empathy and pet ownership, pet attitudes and pet attachment in late childhood
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Many theorists have found companion animals to play an important role in the socio-emotional development of a child. The current study aims to extend this research by exploring links between empathy and pet ownership, pet attitudes and pet attachment in late childhood. Particular attention has been awarded to gender and socio-economic background in relation to these variables. Participants (n=100) consisted of children in third class (8-10 years old) from a DEIS and non-DEIS school. A variety of correlational analyses were run between the total scores on the Bryant Empathy Index, the Pet Attitude Scale and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale. Results obtained from this study indicate that there is a significant link between these variables with females displaying higher levels of empathy and pet attachment than males and children from the DEIS school (located in a socially disadvantaged area) exhibiting lower empathy levels and higher pet attachment and pet attitude scores than the non-DEIS school.