ERIC Number: ED312085
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Apr-26
Developmental Benefits of Pets for Young Children. Final Report for the Delta Society.
Poresky, Robert H.; And Others
An exploratory study examined the premise that pets provide developmental benefits for young children. Four hypotheses were derived from prior research: (1) children who have a bond with a dog or cat show more maturity in their cognitive, moral, and emotional development than children who do not have such pets; (2) children who have a more interactive relationship with their pet are more affected by that relationship than those with a more distant relationship; (3) family environments which include dogs or cats facilitate children's development more than those without pets; and (4) a pet's effects on a child are directly affected by family relationships. Survey data from 88 parents about themselves, their homes, and their preschool children provided empirical support for the hypotheses. Additional data from home interviews with some families provided further support for the general premise that pets provide developmental benefits for young children. Benefits were primarily in the children's social domain, and involved social competence, empathy, and attitudes toward pets. Effects on cognitive development were marginal. "Pet bonding" appeared to be a stronger determinant of pet-associated benefits than pet ownership. Children with pets and better home environments had higher age-adjusted child development scores. Over 40 references are cited. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Kansas State Univ., Manhattan. Dept. of Human Development and Family Studies.