This longitudinal study examined the effect of acquiring a dog using both an indirect and a direct measure of loneliness. The loneliness levels of 31 adults who acquired a dog and a control group of 35 non-dog guardians (non-dog owners) were assessed at baseline and 8 months. Results revealed that changes in loneliness over time differed for the two groups when loneliness was assessed through a 1-item direct measure. Participants who acquired a dog experienced reduced loneliness levels from baseline to 8 months and were less lonely at 8 months than non-dog guardians, even though the two groups did not differ at baseline. On the other hand, when loneliness was assessed through a multi-item indirect measure, acquiring a dog had no effect on loneliness. These results highlight the importance of the type of measure used to assess loneliness when examining changes in loneliness following the acquisition of a companion animal.
CacioppoJ. T.HawkleyL. C.ThistedT. A.Perceived social isolation makes me sad: 5-year cross-lagged analyses of loneliness and depression symptomatology in the Chicago Health, Aging, and Social Relations StudyPsychology and Aging2010252453463
Duvall AntonacopoulosN. M.PychylT. A.An examination of the potential role of pet ownership, human social support and pet attachment in the psychological health of individuals living aloneAnthrozoös20102313754
RobertsC. A.McBrideE. A.RosenvingeH. P.StevenageS. V.BradshawJ. W. S.NicholsonJ.PodberscekA.The pleasure of a pet: The effect of pet ownership and social support on loneliness and depression in a population of elderly people living in their own homesFurther issues in research in companion animal studies1996Callander, ScotlandThe Society for Companion Animal Studies64
Statistics CanadaTable 202-0401—Distribution of total income by economic family type 2011 constant dollars annual2013Retrieved August 20 2015 from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a05?lang=eng&id=2020401&pattern=2020401&searchTypeByValue=1&p2=35.
TilvisR. S.LaitalaVRoutasaloP. E.PitkäläK. H.Suffering from loneliness indicates significant mortality risk of older peopleJournal of Aging Research2011Retrieved June 4 2015 from http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jar/2011/534781/.