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Kids' Pets or Siblings: Which Do They Like Best? (Hint: Meow)

Image: Kids' Pets or Siblings: Which Do They Like Best? (Hint: Meow)

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By    |   Wednesday, 01 Feb 2017 09:20 AM

Kids favored their pets over their siblings in a study that suggests household animals play a major role in child development and have a positive impact on their social skills and emotional well-being.

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology and done in collaboration with the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, surveyed 12-year-old children from 77 families with one or more pets of any type and more than one child at home.

Children reported strong relationships with their pets relative to their siblings, with lower levels of conflict and greater satisfaction in owners of dogs than other kinds of pets, said the University of Cambridge where the study was done.

"One of the more striking findings from our study is that children do not report less disclosure with their pets than with their siblings despite the fact that pets cannot communicate meaningfully or understand what is being said to them," Matt Cassels, the study's lead author, told the New York Daily News.

"While this may seem like a strike against pets as confidants it may actually highlight one of their primary advantages over siblings; pets are not judgmental or critical, won't disagree, and will never share a secret."

Nancy Gee, the human-animal interaction research manager at Waltham and a co-author of the study, said pets have positive benefits on human health and community cohesion.

"The social support that adolescents receive from pets may well support psychological well-being later in life but there is still more to learn about the long term impact of pets on children's development."

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Kids favored their pets over their siblings in a study that suggests household animals play a major role in child development and have a positive impact on their social skills and emotional well-being.
kids, pets, siblings
261
2017-20-01
Wednesday, 01 Feb 2017 09:20 AM
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