NOV 00] UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK NEWS
Children 'Prefer Pets To Adults'
can be more important to children than their family, according to
research by psychologists at the University of Warwick.
research by Dr June McNicholas and Dr Glyn Collis both from the
Department of Psychology, has for the first time examined the bond
between children and their animals.
found that more than over 90 per cent of children saw their pet as
being in their top ten most special relationships.
researchers also found that:
appeared in the top five relationships for many of the children -
above a substantial number of human relationships.
some cases pets even came above all human relationships
pets were not as important a relationship for children as parents they
were a valuable source of support, especially for comfort, self-esteem
relationships were characterised by affection, trust and an absence of
research, to be published this month in the journal Child Care Health
and Development as "Children's Representations of Pets in their
Social Networks", also found that mothers were by far the top
choice of children - closely followed by fathers.
pets the family dog performed best - outshining many other relatives,
and even teachers, as a source of support in some situations.
two researchers tested a class of primary school children, aged 7-8,
by outlining to them a series of stories depicting small children in
difficult situations such as being ill in bed, being bullied in
school, or having a special secret about a magic door at the bottom of
were then asked who or what would they turn to first about this
situation, and who next if they were unavailable, and so on until each
child's top five choices for each situation emerged.
children displayed a reassuringly high degree of common sense when
asked to make these choices.
child said they would get their pets to help with something that, in
reality, only a human could help them with.
were the top choice for almost every situation. Fathers came close but
mothers were considered much more appropriate for comfort when ill or
when a child needed to a confide a secret.