Lovely pet may be the best way to bring an end to sibling fighting at home as a new study by the University of Cambridge suggests that children can get more satisfaction from relationships with their pets than with their brothers or sisters.
Published in the Journal of Applied Development Psychology, the study surveyed 12-year-old children from more than 70 families with one or more pets. The study data demonstrates that children create stronger relationships with pets and this is seen better when the pet is a dog.
“The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as it means they are completely nonjudgmental. While previous research has often found that boys report stronger relationships with their pets than girls do, we actually found the opposite. While boys and girls were equally satisfied with their pets, girls reported more disclosure, companionship, and conflict with their pet than did boys, perhaps indicating that girls may interact with their pets in more nuanced ways,” Professor Matt Cassels, the lead researcher said in a press release.
The greatest level of satisfaction came from dog owners, compared with any other pets.
‘Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than to siblings,’ Dr Cassels said.
The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as it means they are completely non-judgmental.
“Evidence continues to grow showing that pets have positive benefits on human health and community cohesion,” Waltham researcher Nancy Gee, a co-author of the study said.