Kids Closer, More Attached To Pets Than Siblings? New Study Claims Children Might Get More Satisfaction From Animals

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald February 01, 04:00 am
A new study claims that children are closer and more affectionate to their pets rather than their siblings.
(Photo : Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

The saying that a dog is a man's best friend has never been truer in this new study that determined children might be more attached and get more satisfaction from their pets rather than from their siblings. The study is from the University of Cambridge.

New York Daily News reported 77 children, aged 12, were part of the survey. The study was published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. Apart from the above-mentioned finding, the study also found girls reported more companionship, disclosure and conflict with their pets rather than boys.

Dog owners topped the list when it comes to companionship and satisfaction as compared to other pet owners. It was found out that dog owners have fewer fights with their pets as compared to cat owners.

"Children do not report less disclosure with their pets than with their siblings despite the fact that pets cannot communicate meaningfully or understand what is being said to them," lead author of the study Matt Cassels shared and cited that this is one of the more striking findings from their study. Cassels also noted that the finding made it all the more evident that animals are not judgmental or critical as compared to when children confide to their siblings. Animals will also not disagree and will never share secrets.

The facilitators of the study used the Network of Relationships Inventory. This is an existing survey instrument being used for family relationships in order to measure their attachment to their pets. Some of the questions asked to the kids include how much does the child and her pet disagree or quarrel, and how much does a child share his or her secrets and private feelings with his or her pet.

Cassels continued to explain that anyone who has loved a childhood pet knows they turn to them for companionship and disclosure, according to Bustle. The study stated, however, that sibling relationship is irreplaceable and is important in its own way.

The study further encouraged that although human relationships are still the most important, child-pet or human-pet relationships are still necessary to address different issues. The proponents of the study hoped their latest finding could help people better understand child-pet relationships and use it to the child's advantage.

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