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Pet dogs as attachment figures

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

SAGE Publications

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      Most cited references 25

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      Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades

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        Within-person variation in security of attachment: a self-determination theory perspective on attachment, need fulfillment, and well-being.

        Attachment research has traditionally focused on individual differences in global patterns of attachment to important others. The current research instead focuses primarily on within-person variability in attachments across relational partners. It was predicted that within-person variability would be substantial, even among primary attachment figures of mother, father, romantic partner, and best friend. The prediction was supported in three studies. Furthermore, in line with self-determination theory, multilevel modeling and regression analyses showed that, at the relationship level, individuals' experience of fulfillment of the basic needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness positively predicted overall attachment security, model of self, and model of other. Relations of both attachment and need satisfaction to well-being were also explored.
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          Attachment behavior in dogs (Canis familiaris): a new application of Ainsworth's (1969) Strange Situation Test.

          Fifty-one owner-dog pairs were observed in a modified version of M. D. S. Ainsworth's (1969) Strange Situation Test. The results demonstrate that adult dogs (Canis familiaris) show patterns of attachment behavior toward the owner. Although there was considerable variability in dogs' attachment behavior to humans, the authors did not find any effect of gender, age, living conditions, or breed on most of the behavioral variables. The human-dog relationship was described by means of a factor analysis in a 3-dimensional factor space: Anxiety, Acceptance, and Attachment. A cluster analysis revealed 5 substantially different classes of dogs, and dogs could be categorized along the secure-insecure attached dimensions of Ainsworth's original test. A dog's relationship to humans is analogous to child-parent and chimpanzee-human attachment behavior because the observed behavioral phenomena and the classification are similar to those described in mother-infant interactions.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
            Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
            SAGE Publications
            0265-4075
            1460-3608
            April 2008
            April 2008
            : 25
            : 2
            : 247-266
            10.1177/0265407507087958
            © 2008

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