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|Web of Science®
|Companion animals for elderly women: The importance of attachment
|Qualitative Research in Psychology, 2009; 6(4):281-293
|Anna Chur-Hansen, Helen Russell Winefield and Melinda Beckwith
|Much research exploring the relationship between companion animals and physical and psychological health is quantitative and inconclusive, and inconsistent findings have been reported. In this study, we conducted interviews with 11 elderly women and considered the themes that emerged from the data using qualitative methods. On the basis of the resultant themes we propose that “attachment” is a pivotal factor that may help disentangle the complex and contradictory findings of previous studies. Specifically, we suggest that the relationship between attachment and health benefits may follow an inverted U curve: extreme attachment may be detrimental to health, no attachment may yield no health ramifications, with optimal benefits found at the moderate points on the curve. The definitions of low, moderate, and high attachment in this sense are yet to be quantified and should be explored in future research.
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