Loneliness and pet ownership among single women

Psychol Rep. 1994 Oct;75(2):747-52. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1994.75.2.747.


Relationships among loneliness, pet ownership, and attachment were studied in a sample of 148 adult female students, 59 pet owners and 89 nonowners. No significant differences were found on the loneliness reported by pet owners and nonowners. A two by two analysis of variance showed that women living entirely alone were significantly more lonely than those living with pets only, with both other people and pets, and with other people but without pets. No associations were found between loneliness and pet attachment. Also, no significant differences were found in loneliness or pet attachment scores between dog and cat owners; however, women living only with a dog were significantly more attached to the dog than those living with both a dog and other people. Conversely, women living only with a cat were significantly less attached to the cat than those living with both a cat and other people. These findings indicate that having a pet can help to diminish feelings of loneliness, particularly for women living alone, and compensate for the absence of human companionship.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loneliness / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Object Attachment