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Longitudinal Study of Dutch Children’s Attachment to Companion Animals

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The goals of the current studies were (1) to develop a new child-companion animal attachment scale; (2) to determine if children are more attached to dogs than to cats; (3) to examine sex and age differences in attachment to companion animals; and (4) to measure stability of children’s attachment to their companion animals over time. Because the Companion Animal Bonding Scale failed to measure Dutch children’s attachment to companion animals, a preliminary 10-question version of a new questionnaire was tested in a pilot study involving 235 children aged 4 to 12 years. The results indicated that the questionnaire is reliable and valid. In a larger 5-year, longitudinal study involving 631 schoolchildren, the final version of the questionnaire was administered 3 times at 2.5-year intervals to children aged 3, 8, and 13 years at the start of the study. The results indicated that children’s attachment to their companion animals is stable.

Affiliations: 1: Utrecht; 2: Utrecht University


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