Pets, Social Participation, and Aging-in-Place: Findings from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

Can J Aging. 2018 Jun;37(2):200-217. doi: 10.1017/S0714980818000107. Epub 2018 Apr 10.


ABSTRACTThe objective of this study was to assess whether pet ownership contributes to social participation and life satisfaction for older adults. We used baseline data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) for this purpose, and logistic regression models to estimate associations between social participation and life satisfaction for pet owners and non-owners. One third of all older adults (≥ 65 years, n = 7,474) in our sample reported pet ownership. Pet owners were less likely than non-pet owners to report life satisfaction and to participate frequently in social, recreational, or cultural activities, but pet owners were no less satisfied than were non-owners with their current levels of social participation. For pet owners experiencing barriers to social participation, pets appeared protective of life satisfaction in some circumstances. Both individual characteristics and structural factors linked to the World Health Organization's age-friendly communities framework were relevant to understanding these findings.

Keywords: CLSA; age-friendly cities; aging; animaux de compagnie; companion animals; municipalités amies des aînés; participation sociale; politique publique; public policy; social participation; vieillissement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Canada
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living / psychology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ownership / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Pets*
  • Social Participation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires