Comparing grief over people and pets

Anna Kitowska, Maria H. Sørensen, Michelle Engelbrecht Skødstrup, Nanna Danielson, Pernille Brandenborg, Sofie Langergaard, Tia G. B. Hansen

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPosterForskningpeer review

34 Downloads (Pure)


Grief over companion animals is prevalent but few studies provide empirical comparisons to grief over people. The aim of the current study was to extend previous findings by (1) asking identical questions to participants bereaved of a person or a pet, respectively, and (2) correlating grief level with an improved measure of closeness to the deceased.
Method: Two standardized grief scales were reworded to be applicable across species, and closeness was measured by 8 items representing two dimensions of attachment. An open invitation from the study elicited 366 participants, of whom 58% had lost a person and 42% a pet.
Results: Measures proved reliable (chr α = .89-.94). For neither grief measure did level of grief significantly differ between those having lost a person and those having lost at pet (t-tests, ps > .4). Attachment consistently correlated with level of grief across species and across grief measures (rs =39-53, ps < .001).
Limitations: Convenience sample and few male participants.
Conclusion: Attachment seems a better predictor of grief than whether the deceased was a person or a pet. This deserves further study. The revised grief measures and the derived attachment measure are useful.
Publikationsdato3 sep. 2022
StatusUdgivet - 3 sep. 2022
Begivenhed30th anniversary conference of the International Association of Human Animal Interaction Organizations: Changing perspectives on the human-animal relationship - Online
Varighed: 3 sep. 20224 sep. 2022


Konference30th anniversary conference of the International Association of Human Animal Interaction Organizations


Dyk ned i forskningsemnerne om 'Comparing grief over people and pets'. Sammen danner de et unikt fingeraftryk.