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1 JAPANESE HEALTH AND HAPPINESS IN RELATION TO PET OWNERSHIP AND DEGREE OF ATTACHMENT TO COMPANION ANIMALS By KATHRYN GERLACH A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Kathryn Gerlach
3 To Mom, Dad, Biz, and Cathy
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank Monika Ardelt, Ph.D., Charles Pee k, Ph.D. and my mom, Suzanne Gerlach RN, MS, ARNP-C, whose useful feedback and directi on helped improve the quality of this project.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........6LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................7ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................8 CHAP TER 1 SPECIFIC AIMS.................................................................................................................. ....92 RATIONALE.........................................................................................................................103 BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE ..............................................................................12Attachment to Companion Animals....................................................................................... 13Exploring the Bond: Attachment Theory............................................................................... 14Human-Animal Relationships: Demogra phic Factors and Country of Origin....................... 15Companion Animals and Subjective Well-Being................................................................... 22Companion Animals and Human Health................................................................................ 25Japan.......................................................................................................................................294 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS..............................................................................32Data.........................................................................................................................................32Procedures..................................................................................................................... ..........32Measures.................................................................................................................................33Outcome Variables.......................................................................................................... 33Independent Variables.....................................................................................................34Data Analysis..........................................................................................................................365 RESULTS...............................................................................................................................39Bivariate..................................................................................................................................39Multivariate................................................................................................................... ..........406 DISCUSSION.........................................................................................................................51Limitations.................................................................................................................... ..........54Suggestions for Future Research............................................................................................ 55REFERENCES..............................................................................................................................57BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................65
6 LIST OF TABLES Table page 5-1 Comparison of Pet Owners and Non-owners.....................................................................455-2 Correlation between Pet ownership and Subjective Well-being for entire sample........... 455-3 Correlation between Pet Attachment a nd Subjective Well-being among Pet Owners...... 455-4 Correlation between Pet Ownership a nd Health among Respondents aged 60 and older...................................................................................................................................465-5 Correlation between Pet Attachment a nd Health among Pet Owners aged 60 and older...................................................................................................................................465-6 Results of Linear Regressions Predic ting Effect of independent variables on Subjective Well-being........................................................................................................ 475-7 Results of Linear Regressions Predic ting Effect of independent variables on Subjective Well-being among Pet Owners........................................................................ 485-8 Results of Linear Regressions Predicti ng Effect of independent variables on the Health of Respondents aged 60+.......................................................................................495-9 Results of Linear Regressions Predicti ng Effect of independent variables on the Health of Pet Owners aged 60+.........................................................................................50
7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Distribution of Subj ective W ell Being scale...................................................................... 374-2 Distribution of Health scale............................................................................................... 374-3 Prevalence of Pet Ownership............................................................................................. 384-4 Distribution of Pe t Owners Attachment...........................................................................38
8 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts By JAPANESE HEALTH AND HAPPINESS IN RELATION TO PET OWNERSHIP AND DEGREE OF ATTACHMENT TO COMPANION ANIMALS By Kathryn Gerlach August 2009 Chair: Monika Ardelt Major: Sociology The human-animal bond has enjoyed much schol arly attention in recent years. Many studies conducted in European countries indicate that compan ion animals are a boon to their owners physical and psychol ogical health, particularly when ther e are deep levels of attachment. It is unclear if the relatively new practice of keeping domesticat ed animals in Japan results in similar physiological or emotional benefits. Seco ndary analysis of Japanese General Social Survey data reveals that, among th is nationally-representative samp le of adults living in Japan, subjective well-being is not enhanced by pet ow nership, older adults health status is not augmented by pet ownership, and pet attachment is unrelated to health for pet owners aged 60 and older. However, the data confirm that, am ong pet owners, attachment level is positively related to subjective well-being.
9 CHAPTER 1 SPECIFIC AIMS The goal of this research is to examine pet-keeping in the Japanese context as it relates to self-reported health and subjective well-being. Additionally, this research will explore the relationships between degree of attachment to companion animals and health and happiness for Japanese pet owners. The practice of sharing one s home with domesticated animals is already well-established in the United States. In 2006, over 70 million U.S. homes included a pet, constituting 63% of households (APPMA). In Ja pan, however, pet-keeping is not a majority practice as only about 38% of Japanese have companion animals. This allows for a unique research opportunity: the ability to examine differences between owners and non-owners in an industrialized country where pet-keeping is not the norm. According to a recent Euromonitor Interna tional report on pet food and pet care in Japan, young, unmarried people; DINKS (double income no kids); and older adults tend to view their pets as surrogate family members, child-substitutes, and friends, respectively (Euromonitor International, 2007). Finding that attachment is high among childless people, Hizura Sugita at the Osaka University of Commerce recently proposed that pet dogs may function as substitute children in Japan (Sugita, 2006). This study will explore how pet ownership and degree of attachment to companion animals relates to subjective well-being and self-reported health. Using secondary data from the Japanese Gene ral Social Survey, a nationally-representative sample of adults living in Japan, I plan to address the following research questions: 1. Are pet owners happier and/or healthie r than persons who do not own pets? 2. Is degree of attachment to pets responsibl e for the relationship be tween pet-keeping and health/happiness?
10 CHAPTER 2 RATIONALE I expect, based on research in the United States and Western European countries (Horowitz, 2008; Knight & Edwards, 2008) th at Japanese pet owne rs will report higher subjective well-being than non-owners. Furtherm ore, I anticipate that, among Japanese pet owners, high levels of pet attachment will be associated with increased happiness. When formulating conjectures regardi ng the relationship between pet attachment and health, I limited hypotheses to pet owners ages 60 an d older because variability in h ealth status is quite low at younger ages (McCullough and Laurenceau, 2004; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). Nearly all young adu lts are in good health and thus before middle age health is almost a constant. When younger persons do suffer from ill health, this is mainly due to accidents and congenital abnormalities for which pet ownership is unlikely to have as many ameliorating affects. However, chronic conditions that begin to appear in middle age are more likely to respond positively to increased exerci se and stress reduction that can accompany pet ownership. I anticipate that pet owners (age 60+) will be healthier than respondents of the same age who do not keep pets. Furthermore, I hypot hesize that, among owners, those who are more attached will have better hea lth because a positive relationshi p with a companion animal may provide some intangible health benefits beyond obvious health-promoting behaviors like dogwalking. For instance, stress reduc tion may result from spending tim e with a valued pet. Once again, respondents under the age of 60 will be ex cluded from models predicting health because there is very little va riation in health among young people: nearly everyone is in good health until the onset of chronic disease in middl e age (McCullough and Laurenceau, 2004; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). My hypotheses are as follows:
11 1. Pet owners will have higher subjecti ve well-being than non-pet owners. 2. Among pet owners, those who are more attached to their pets will have higher subjective well being. 3. Among those aged 60 and older, pet owners will be healthier th an non-pet owners. 4. Among pet owners aged 60 and older, those who are more attached to their pets will be healthier.
12 CHAPTER 3 BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE The human-animal bond has enjoyed much schol arly attention in recent years. The majority of these studies have focused on the physical health bene fits of contact with companion animals in therapeutic settings within the United States, England, and Australia (Hooker, Freeman, and Stewart, 2002; Graham, 2000; Stanley-Hermanns & Miller, 2002; Filan & Llewellyn-Jones, 2006; Morrison, 2007; Banks & Banks, 2002). More specifically, Graham (2000) indicates that the most not able pioneers in the area of animal assisted therapy (AAT) are from the United States. Most AAT sessions involve interaction be tween a patient and a trained animal, facilitated by a human handler. Therapeu tic goals can include enhancing a patients physical rehabilitation (e.g. a patient regains balance and coordinati on after a stroke by horseback riding) or encouraging positive feelings or behaviors (e.g. an autistic child relaxes and communicates more readily in the presence of a therapy dog). Filan and Llewellyn-Jones, scholars from the University of Sydney, wrote an extensive review article on the use of animal assisted therapy for dementia in 2006 wherein they concluded that AAT appears to offer promise as a psychosocial intervention for people with dementia and might reduce or eliminate the need for psychotropic medication for some dementia patients (p.13). Fewer studies have examined the possibility that pe t ownership per se promotes physic al health (e.g. McNicholas et al., 2005; Parslow et al., 2005; Friedmann & Th omas, 1995). There is comparatively little research on the relationship between pet ownership and subjective well-being. It has been suggested that researchers consider degree of attachment to pets as it relates to owners health and happiness since companion animals can have a neutral effect or even become a liability rather than an asset to persons with low leve ls of attachment (Garri ty, Stallones, Marx, & Johnson, 1989; Robb & Stegman, 1983).
13 For example, according to Garrity et al. s 1989 study, pet ownership by itself was not related to either emotional or physical health status in the elderl y, but strong attachment to pets was associated with less depressi on. The responsibility of caring for an animal to which one is only weakly bonded may nullify the potential benefits of pet ownership (such as decreased stress levels). Additionally, several scholars have empha sized the need to study the role of pets in peoples daily lives outside the United States, particularly in non European countries (e.g. AlFayez, Awdalla, Templer, & Arikawa, 2003). For example, it is important to study attitudes towards companion animals in different contexts since they are determ ined by a multitude of cultural, social, psychological, ec onomic, [and] historical. .varia bles, which vary from country to country (Al-Fayez, Awdalla, Templer, & Ar ikawa, 2003, p. 26). Attitu des towards companion animals may influence health a nd subjective well being. This issue will be addressed in subsequent sections. Attachment to Companion Animals Identifying the motivations underlying pet ownership is crucial to understanding attachment to companion animals. Archer (1997) outlines the three most common explanations for the existence of pet attachme nt and proposes a forth. The first three explanations include the view that strong attachment to a pet indicates a poor capacity for human relationships, that it results from modern living conditi ons, particularly affluence, and that pet ownership confers benefits for health and psychological well-being (p. 238). Archer asse rts that these three explanations are inaccurate and that attachment to companion animals results from their ability to manipulate human responses (p. 237). He c onsiders pets social parasites that take advantage of humans caregiving in stincts for their own offspring (p. 248). However, he does not attribute a conscious effort on the animals part to exploit humans, rather he asserts that they evolved features, such as neotenous characteristics (retent ion of juvenile traits in the adults of a
14 species), when filling this ecological niche. A lthough the author implies that these explanations are mutually exclusive, they may all be valid to some degree. Contrary to Archers tacit assumption that th e evolution of neotenous characteristics in pets is the singular variable re sponsible for the human-compani on animal bond, it is possible that several factors simultaneously encourage this re lationship. Specifically, pet owners who have a decreased capacity for relating to humans may include pets in their primary relationships. Additionally, modern livi ng conditions, which frequently incl ude a breakdown in contact with extended family and prolonged periods of solitary living, may create an emotional void. Finally, people may be especially inclined to nurture compan ion animals, realizing that pets contribute to their physical and mental health. Exploring the Bond: Attachment Theory Several researchers have studi ed the relationship between pe ts and people in term s of attachment (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988; Johnson, Garrity & Stall ones, 1992; Crawford, Worsham and Swinehart, 2006). Although not always stated explicitly, ma ny of these studies rely on human attachment theory first developed by Brit ish psychoanalyst and child development expert John Bowlby (1973) and later expanded upon by Ba rtholomew and Horowitz (1991). The latter presented a model that identified four categories or styles of a dult attachment. In a recent study (2008), Beck and Madresh use Bartholomew and Horo witzs model of attach ment to test whether relationships with pets approxima te relationships with people. They conclude that their study further supports the use of attachment theory in human-animal bond research because it suggests that the structure of relationshi ps with pets may be similar to relationships with humans. Although inter-species relationships are limited, especially in regards to communication, some studies indicate that people te nd to consider companion animals more steadfast and predictable than humans in terms of the social support they offer. In Beck and Madreshs web-based survey
15 of pet owners, relationships with animals were rated as more secure than relationships with romantic partners and pets seemed to offer a more consistent source of attachment security (2008). Bonas, McNicholas and Collis (2003) re port in their study using the Network of Relationships Inventory that in some facets of social support such as companionship, nurturance, and reliable alliance, respondent s perceived that their dogs pr ovided more support than their family members. However, this does not impl y that all human-companion animal relationships are positive. As previously stat ed, attachment could partially e xplain the relationship between pet ownership and subjective well being. Providing care for an animal to which one is not emotionally bonded may become an unwelcome task and such owners may derive fewer benefits from the relationship. Furthermore, not all st udies have found that pe t ownership augments health/well being. For instance, af ter controlling for sociodemographic factors, health status, and social interaction, Ory (1983) found that the mere presence of pets in the home was unrelated to happiness for 1073 elderly women. Kingwell, La omdal, and Andersons (2001) experiment involving 72 subjects revealed that the cardiovascular respons es of dog owners were most favorable in the presence of a dog, but that non-dog owners cardiac responses were most favorable in the absence of a dog. These findings suggest that not ev eryone does benefit (or would benefit) from pet ownership. Human attitudes likely play an important role in whether exposure to animals is harmful, be neficial or inconsequential. Human-Animal Relationships: Demogra phic Factors and Country of Origin Just as ch aracteristics of specific animal species affect the human-companion animal bond (ie: the loyal dog or independent cat) human characteristics also influence the relationship. Clearly, cult ural differences exist in attitudes towards animals which may influence attachment. Race, ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and c ountry of origin can have an
16 impact on the roles companion animals play in human lives. Unfortunately, there is little diversity in the samples recruited for human-an imal bond research. For example, most studies on this topic have involved only Caucasians or have included other ethnic group members only incidentally (Johnson & Meadows, 2002, p. 609). Mi ddle-class and upper-class subjects may be over-represented as well, since many scholars recr uit subjects for their studies from veterinary clinics. Pet owners of low socioeconomic status and those with low pet attachment are probably less likely to seek medical intervention for their animals. Although not necessarily applicable to pets sp ecifically, Wolch and Lassiter assert that there exist significant gender and class differences in attitudes towards animals (2004, p. 255). In their study of poor African American females in Los Angeles, they found that these womens views of animals in general were more utilit arian and anthropocentric compared to those expressed by whites in the literature. This is perhaps demonstrated most succinctly by a focus group participant named Alice who stated Im very sure about animals being inferior to humans and that humans come first because animals have always been our servants. (Wolch & Lassiter, 2004, p.259). Additionally, she and other participants defended the practice of eating dogs in some Southeast Asian societies on the grounds of moral relativity (Wolch & Lassiter, 2004). The authors could not make direct raci al comparisons since they did not include Caucasians in their study, but did contrast the focus group results with research conducted by Kellert and Berry (1980). Kellert and Berrys study surveyed over 3,000 American adults regarding their attitudes towards animals and reported findings by demo graphic groups including age, sex, race, education, income, urban/rural residence, occupa tion, religious service at tendance, and marital status. Kellert and Berry found that Blacks attitudes towards animals tend to be more utilitarian
17 and anthropocentric than those expressed by Wh ites. In their study, African Americans scored particularly high on a negativistic scale that measures active avoidance of animals due to indifference, dislike, or fear as well as a util itarian scale that measures primary concern for the practical and material value of animals or the animals habitat (Kellert and Berry, 1980, p.42). When income and education were incl uded as confounding variables, Black/White differences only existed for res pondents earning greater than five thousand dollars a year with more than a sixth grade educati on. Less educated, poorer respondents expressed little interest in or concern about animals regardless of race. Kell ert and Berry did not speculate why Whites with moderate to high levels of education and income tended to regard animals more favorably than African Americans of the same socioeconomic class. Wolch and Lassiters study seems to support this finding, but these au thors attribute African Americans positions on animals to socio-economic and cultural factors. .or questi on bias. .rather than a lack of concern for nature or animals (Wolch & Lassiter, 2004, pp. 258-259). For example, the main theme to emerge from this studys focus group discussion on animal practices was the notion that humans must make use of animals to live, particularly the necessity to eat meat often of animals or animal parts devalued by mainstream white so ciety in order to surv ive (Wolch & Lassiter, 2004, p.256). The authors conclude that gener ational and class pos ition, urban/rural background, and membership in a historically oppressed and currently marginalized social group influence individuals perspectives of animals and appropriate human-animal relations (Wolch & Lassiter, 2004, p. 260). Other scholars concur that the re has been little research on human-animal relationships in communities of color in the United States (Risley-Curtiss, Holley, Cruickshank, Porcelli, Rhoads, Bacchus, Nyakoe, and Murphy, 2006). It is difficult to determine if race/ethnicity is
18 related to attitudes towards companion animals sin ce most studies have used all-white samples or have failed to control for socioeconomic status In Risley-Curtiss a nd collegues ethnicallydiverse sample of female pet owners (composed of nine Latinas, two Asians, two Native Americans, and two African Americans), the majority of respondents report ed having reciprocal relationships with their companion animals (R isley-Curtiss, Holley, Cruickshank, Porcelli, Rhoads, Bacchus, Nyakoe, and Murphy, 2006, p.438). Most focus group participants (13 of 15) indicated that they consider their pets to be fa mily members and over half said that members of their ethnic communities commonl y share this view (Risley-Curtiss, Holley, Cruickshank, Porcelli, Rhoads, Bacchus, Nyakoe, and Mu rphy, 2006). The women talked about the intersections of ethnicity; social class; rural, urban, or suburban residence; and national origin in describing their communities views (Risley-Cu rtiss, Holley, Cruickshank, Porcelli, Rhoads, Bacchus, Nyakoe, and Murphy, 2006, p.440). Johnson and Meadows, in their study of olde r Latinos, found that respondents were very devoted to their pets and that the animals pr ovided social support (2002). These results are similar to those involving elderl y Caucasian pet owners (Smith, Seibert, Jackson, & Snell, 1992). In a study of Hispanic persons residing in a Texas-Mexico border town, free roaming dogs and an over-population of both cats and dogs was iden tified as a problem by the authors, in which cultural traditions may be at odds with United States laws and customs. (Poss & Bader, 2007). Poss and Bader encourage additional investigation to determine whether a llowing dogs to roam freely and aversion to sterilization for pets represent true cultural traditions among Hispanics, as these practices conflict with U.S. standards. In this sample, onl y 11% of dog owners and 27% of cat owners had their pets spayed or neuter ed. Also, twenty-four percent of dog owners sometimes allowed their dogs to roam freel y (Poss & Bader, 2007, p. 250) even though the
19 practice is illegal and 83.5% of respondents in this sample were, at times, frightened by the loose dogs in their community. Residents cited free-roaming dogs as the third largest community problem after poor water quality and inadequa te sanitation. Although c onsidered cruel by the Humane Society of the United St ates, 63.9% of the study particip ants also chained their dogs outside. People born in Mexico and less educated respondents were more likely to chain their dogs rather than allowing them free access to their outdoor property or permitting them to live inside their homes. This difference likely stems, in part, from an inability to afford proper fencing, as nearly 78% of dog guardians who ch ained their dogs stat ed they would cease chaining if they had a secure fence (Poss & Bader, 2007, p. 251). Unfortunately, the authors were unable to assess the role of financial resources due to non-re sponse on questions about income. Al-Fayez, Awdalla, Templer, and Arikawa ( 2003) studied attitudes toward companion animals among Kuwaiti Muslims. Consistent with other Muslim countries, Kuwaiti families were less positive in their attitudes about pets than Americans. A ccording to the authors, Islamic religious teachings generally emphasize that anim als should be evaluated in terms of economic rather than emotional value (e.g. it is appropriate for dogs to hunt and guard fields, but overall they are considered unclean and thus not good companions). Kuwaiti fathers exerted a stronger influence than mothers did over their adolescent ch ildrens attitudes toward animals. However, in the United States, the reverse was true. The author s, taking an internationa l perspective, suggest that positive attitudes toward companion animals and the notion that they can be family members may be primarily a phenomenon in Europeans and pe rsons in countries in which the majority of citizens are of European descent (Al-Fayez, Awdalla, Templer, & Arikawa, 2003, p. 22). One
20 could infer that it is the compan ion animal perspective which deviat es from the standard view of animals as food or property. Drews (2001) reported that a pproximately 68% of Costa Ricans keep wild or domestic pets. He compares these statistics to the Unite d States (59%) and Austra lia (64%) collected in the same time frame. Pet-keeping in Costa Rica is wide spread, with dog ownership at 53%, cat ownership at 15%, and wild animal ownershi p (primarily parrots) at 24% of households. Unfortunately, he did not address what roles these animals play in Costa Ricans lives, nor did he suggest why cat ownership is so low in this coun try compared to the United States. According to Drews article, cat and dog ownership in the United States was about equal in 2001, whereas there were about 3.6 times more pet dogs than pet cats in Costa Rica (p.114). In Japan, 2007 marked the first year in wh ich pets outnumbered children (Euromonitor, 2007), an issue which has brought attention to the countrys shifting attitudes towards companion animals (Sugita, 2005). Based on th e little research available, it appears that the Japanese are somewhat ambivalent about pets. Kanamori Kawashima, Kuwabara, and Macer (2001) conducted a survey of 88 young people at the University of Tsukuba in which 25% of respondents said that they had at one point been cruel to their pets. However, when these same respondents were asked what their pets mean to th em 36% stated that they consider them family members and 17% indicated that they view their companion animals as friends, while only 10% said that they think of their companion animals as pets. Responses for the remaining subjects were not clarified in the article. Ea rlier, at the same university, Kudo and Macer executed a study on attitudes towards nonhuman animals in general (1999). Based on a convenience sample of 258 respondents, they fou nd that only 50% of participants had positive
21 feeling about animals, 16% disliked them, and 35% were neutral. Of those who did not keep pets, 34% disliked animals; the most common reason cited was that they are dirty and/or smelly. In a study regarding high school teachers thoughts on animal rights in Australia, Japan, and New Zealand, Japanese teachers provided some seemingly contradictory responses (Tsuzuki, et al., 1998). More Japanese te achers than teachers from the ot her two countries endorsed the statement Animals have rights that people should not violate, but they expressed less concern about the humane treatment of laboratory animal s than did respondents fr om Australia and New Zealand. Specifically, 87% of Japanese high sch ool teachers agreed or strongly agreed that animals have rights that people should not viol ate, but only 72% of teachers in New Zealand and 69% of Australian teachers did so. Surprisingly, the concept of human e use of laboratory animals was expressed less in Japan than in the other two countries, and 72% of biology teachers in New Zealand, 63% in Au stralia and 12% in Japan said there were guidelines at their schools regarding the use of animals for inst ructional purposes (Tsuzuki, et al., 1998, p.119). Gender is a significant variable in companion animal research as well. Many studies have found that girls score higher than boys on both the Companion Animal Bonding Scales (Triebenbacher, 2000) and the Ch ild-Pet Attachment Scale (Vi dovic, 1999). Several other researchers have also found wome n to be more deeply bonded to pets throughout the life course (Albert & Bulcroft, 1988; Johnson, Garrit y, & Stallones, 1992; Kidd & Kidd, 1989). A comprehensive review of gender differences in human-animal interactions concluded that the literature from the United Stat es, Australia, and the United Kingdom indicates women are more deeply attached to pets (Herzog, 2007). However the difference was relatively small compared to gender differences in attitudes regarding animals rights and the propensity to abuse pets where women had much higher levels of positive behavi ors and attitudes towards animals.
22 Perhaps as Cohen (2002) suggests in her study of 201 pet owners in New York City, men may have been more analytical while scoring their feeling about pets than women, which may contribute to women scoring highe r on kinship and intimacy scales. In other words, women may have felt freer to express their love for pets. Similarly, she found that college graduates (both male and female) had lower levels of kinship an d intimacy with pets, which she attributes, in part, to a greater familiarity with standardized tests. She states although advanced education may interfere with the ability to bond to others, this finding may also reflect a greater familiarity with procedures in standardized testing, whic h requires careful attention to each question (Cohen, 2002, p. 633). Conversely, in another study conducted in New York City, Mallon (1993) found gender had little impact on peoples f eelings about their pets. Prato-Previde, Falleni, and Valsecchis (2006) findings also suppor ted minimal gender differences in the degree of attachment to companion animals for a sample of Italian adults. They found that both men and women tend to exhibit parent al behaviors toward their pets but women tend to be more verbal and use more motherese. Companion Animals and Subjective Well-Being Currently, in the United States, m ost peopl e view their pets as family members. According to a recent survey, 85% of dog owners and 78% of cat owners consider their pets to be members of their families (Pew Research Center, 2006). In a 2004 survey of 1,238 pet owners throughout the United States and Canada, 57% of respondents indicated that if necessary, they would be very likely to risk their lives for their pets (AAHA, 2004). Perhaps the most telling indicator of pets growing impor tance, however, comes from a Pew Research Center survey designed to gauge family intimacy. In a nationally representative sample of 3,014 adults, a greater number of respondents re ported feeling close to their dogs than the number who reported feeling close to their mothers (Pew, 2006). Specifically, when asked to characterize various
23 relationships as close: or dis tant, 94% of respondents report ed feeling close to their dogs, while 87% felt close to their mothers, 84% felt cl ose to their cats, and 74 % of respondents said they felt close to their fathers (Pew, 2006). Research indicates that pets have emotional significance fo r their owners. Contact with companion animals has been found to reduce stress and loneliness, promote relaxation, increase frequency of laughter, expand social networks and contribute to a greater sense of well being (Kraus, 2006; Shiloh, Sorek, & Terkel, 2003; Lockwood, 1983; Rossbach and Wilson, 1992; McNiholas & Collis, 2000; Wood, Giles-Corti, Bu lsara, 2005; Valeri, 2006). A recent article concluded that there are significant differences between pet owners and those who do not keep pets based on a sample of 19,500 U.S. adults (James, McMellon, & To rres-Baumgarten, 2004, p. 70). The authors used the Simmons Market Resear ch Bureau database, Choices II to conduct a secondary data analysis. Respondents who owne d companion animals were more adventurous and independent than non-owners and they also reported that they enjoyed life more than nonowners (James, McMellon, & Torres-Baumgart en, 2004). Conversely, t hose who did not own pets were more conservative, fatalistic, and heal th conscious than pet owners. They also reported a greater concern abou t the environment (James, McMellon, & Torres-Baumgarten, 2004). Pets have also been shown to reduce stress. In a sample of 1,512 people ranging in age from 14 to 83, pet owners were less stressed than non-owners (Kraus, 2006). Additionally, among pet owners, more frequent interaction with companion animals was associated with lower levels of subjective stress (Kraus, 2006). Resear chers at the Tel Aviv University in Israel conducted an experiment wherein participants were told that they might be asked to hold a Tarantula spider and then assigned to one of several experimental groups. The results of the
24 experiment showed that petting a live rabbit or turtle reduced a nxiety compared to petting a toy rabbit, a toy turtle, or being a part of the control group (Shiloh, So rek, & Terkel, 2003). Pets can also increase subjective well bei ng indirectly by extending social networks. People who appear in public with pets are usually regarded as more appr oachable and interesting (Lockwood, 1983; Rossbach and Wilson, 1992) and several studies have recognized companion animals ability to act as social lubricants (e.g. McNiholas & Collis, 2000; Messent, 1993; Robins & Cahill, 1991). For example, Guguen and Ciccotti (2008) in their study of 120 French women and men found that a dog is a powerful facilitator of soci al interaction (p.346) and their results confirm the social lubrication effect of dogs ( p.347). The results of their study suggest that the presence of a dog increases social interacti on and helping behavior from strangers. Guguen and Ciccotti posit that people accompanied by a dog may be considered more kind, thoughtful, or sensitive (p. 347). A su rvey of 339 adults in Australia found that pet owners had a greater number of people they could turn to in a crisis than did non-owners (Wood, Giles-Corti, Bulsara, 2005). They were also mo re civically engaged and less lonely than those who did not keep pets (Wood, Giles-Corti, Buls ara, 2005). However, not all studies reveal psychological benefits associated with pet owne rship. A sample of 162 Australians showed that cat owners had significantly lower scores for ge neral psychological health than non-pet owners (Straede & Gates, 1993). The two gr oups did not differ with regard to depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, nurturance, social desirability, or life events (Str aede & Gates, 1993). A longitudinal study of the relationship between pet ownership and loneliness (as measured by the UCLALoneliness scale) found no evidence that the acquisition of a pet de creased levels of loneliness for a sample of 59 respondents (Gilbey, McNicholas & Collis, 2007).
25 Although research on the potential benefits of pet-keeping is still inconclusive, clearly owners can become quite emotionall y invested in their animals. It is not surprising then that grief following the death of a companion animal can be profound (Toray, 2004; Planchon, Templer, Stokes, & Keller, 2002). In a study of Canadian pet owners, approximately 30% of respondents experienced severe grief after the death of a companion animal (Adams, Bonnett, & Meek, 2000). Interestingly, although most subjects disp layed emotional and physical symptoms of distress for six week after a pets death, more than half believed that society did not view the death of a pet as a loss worthy of grief (p. 1307). Additionally, Beck and Katcher (1996, p. 45) note, pets are not only family members, they may be preferred family members, the ones we feel closest to. In a more recent article, Va leri (2006, p. 276) concurs st ating that today, pets seem to play an especially valued role in th e family. It stands to reason that whenever relationships with pets are rega rded as emotionally significant, they will exert at least some influence on ones global sense of well being. Subjective well being is obviously of interest in and of itself, but it also has been shown to have important consequences. In a seven year prospective cohort study of middle aged and elde rly people living in Japan, subjective well being was shown to be a reliable predictor of mort ality (Iwasa, Kawaai, Gondo, Inagaki, & Suzuki, 2006). Companion Animals and Human Health Extensive research supports th e idea that hum an health benefits from relationships with animals. Pets, which are often more predictable than people (Graham, 2000), provide a free outlet for the expression of emotion. Minimal social skills are needed to obtain their attention and they can offer a refuge from the strain of human interactions (Graham, 2000). Even in ancient times, the symbiotic nature of the re lationship was recognized. The Greeks and Romans encouraged depressed people to ride horses as therapy and kept dogs in their healing temples
26 (Newby, 1999). In more recent times, Florence Nightingale, who herself kept a pet owl, stated a small pet animal is often an excellent companion for the sick, for long chronic cases especially (1969, p. 102). The firs t record of the institutional adoption of companion animals was in 1792 (Hooker, Freeman & Stewart, 2002). The York Retreat, a progressive, English, Quaker psychiatric hospital known for treating mentally ill patients humanely, introduced companion animal as form of therapy (Furst, 2006). Although contemporary research recognizes th e significance of zoonotic disease (any disease of non-human animals that is transm issible to humans) (Robertson, Irwin, Lymbery & Thompson, 2000) and other negative consequences associated with pet-keeping (e.g. dog bites), there is a growing body of research focusing on the health-benefits of living with companion animals. It has been suggested that pets may buffer the effects of stre ss (Kraus, 2006). Contact with companion animals, has been shown to decrease the incidence of depression (Siegel, Angulo, Detels, Wesch & Mullen, 1999), lower blood pressure/cholest erol better than medication (Allen, Shykoff & Izzo, 2001), and reduce anxiety (Wilson & Netting, 1983). Pet ownership, like marriage, friendship or the pa rent-child relationship can indeed have a measurable impact on human susceptibility to phys ical and mental illness. Beck and Katcher (1996) found that depression increases vulnerability to disease, which may be ameliorated by an association with animals. Children who live with animals may develop stronger immune systems (Gern et al., 2004) and have a lesser ch ance of becoming sensitiv e to allergens (Ownby, Johnson & Peterson, 2002). However, some studies have found that exposure to pets can exacerbate allergies to animal dander ( Wahn, U., Lau, S., Bergmann, R., Kulig, M., Forster, J., Bergmann, 1997 ). When therapy animals visit nursing homes and work with people who have developmental handicaps, quali ty of life usually improves (Graham, 2000). Pet owners made
27 fewer doctor visits than non-owners in several studies (e.g. Headey & Grabka, 2007; Siegel, 1990; Heady, Na & Zheng, 2008). Recently, a larg e scale longitudinal study on the relationship between pet ownership and human health in Germ any and Australia reveal ed that pet owners make approximately 15% fewer annual doctor vis its than non-owners even after controlling for gender, age, marital status, income, and othe r factors known to influe nce health (Headey & Grabka, 2007). The data from Germany is part icularly compelling as respondents totaled over 9,500 and were interviewed every year since 1984. As a leading cause of death, cardiovascular di sease has received much scientific scrutiny. Medical researchers and scholar s interested in the human-animal bond have focused on both the prevention of heart attack/stroke and reduction of mortality associated with cardiovascular disease. Modifiable risk fact ors for cardiovascular disease include control of hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes (MeritCare, 2008). Lower blood pressure in response to contact with an animal has been documented at several life stag es. Nagengast et al. ( 1997) found the presence of a dog during a physical examination reduced blood pr essure, heart rate and behavioral distress in preschool children. Results from a more recent study in adults dem onstrated that pet owners have better autonomic modulation (heart rate and BP regulation) than non-owners (Friedmann, et al., 2003). Allen, Blascovich, and Mende s (2002) study showed decrea sed cardiovascular reactivity to stress when people were in the presence of cats or dogs. Baun (1984) documented a drop in blood pressure when normotensive college student s petted their own dogs. Similarly, Harris, Rinehart, and Gerstman (1993) found that olde r people who have previously owned a dog had lower blood pressure when home hea lth care visits included a dog. Pet ownership may be especially beneficial for the elderly. The results of a large, longitudinal study of Canadians ages 65+ indicate that pet ownershi p helps to maintain or even
28 enhance older adults physical function measured as the ability to perform Activities of Daily Living (Raina, Waltner-Toews, Bonnett, Woodward, and Abernathy, 1999). In a prospective study of 938 Medicare enrollees, pet owners repo rted fewer doctor visits than non-owners over the course of a year (Siegel, 1990). Furthe rmore, the accumulation of prebaseline [ sic ] stressful life events was associated with increased docto r contacts during the st udy year for respondents without pets, however, this was not the case for pet owners (Siegel, 1990, p.1081). In this sample of older adults, pets appeared to shie ld their owners health against the damages of stressful life events (Siegel, 1990). In the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Tria l (CAST) dog ownership was a significant contributor to survival in the year followi ng a myocardial infarction (Friedmann & Thomas, 1995) CAST investigators conducted a one-yea r follow-up with 369 patients who underwent detailed physiological and psychos ocial evaluation. Of the 20 deaths that occurred during the study, 19 of 263 patients who did not own dogs died compared with only 1 of 86 patients who did keep pet dogs (Friedmann & Thomas, 1995). In this study, cat ownershi p was not associated with survival benefit, but the trial only contained a small number of cat owners (n=44) and a relationship would have needed to be rather stro ng to reach statistical significance. Beck and Katcher (1996) found that pet ownership (any type of animal) was the best social predictor of survival in patients with severe heart disease. In a national st udy of 4,435 men and women in the US, which began in the 1970s and spanned 20 year s, people who had never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack and had a 30% greater risk of dying from other cardiovascular conditions than current or previo us cat owners (Morrison, 2008). The relationship between dog ownership and cardi ovascular health wa s insignificant for this sample (Grayson, 2008). Although there are several ex ceptions, the research generally indicates that pet-keeping, at
29 least for emotionally-invested owners, is related to better health and an increased sense of well being. It remains to be seen whether this te ndency is specific to European, industrialized countries or is true internationally. Japan Most studies on the bond between hum ans a nd companion animals have been conducted in the United States and other western, industrialized countries. Ne vertheless, there is a growing body of literature on pets roles in Japan and, in recent years, the nation has experienced a pet boom (NPR, 1999). As mentioned previously, 2007 was the first year in which the number of pets in Japan exceeded the number of childre n (Euromonitor, 2007). In fact, Japans pet population has been climbing while it s fertility rate has been falling. The nations current fertility rate of 1.3 is well below the 2.1 replacement level and is among the lowest in the world (Gubhaju, 2007). Like many industr ialized countries, Japans popula tion is expected to continue decreasing, with some estimating that it will be 14% smaller in 2050 than today (Cohen, 2003). According to Jones (2007, p. 467), In Japan, fertili ty decline started in the two decades before World War II. It was greatly facilitated by the postponement of marriage. Meanwhile, over the past decade, cat and dog owners hip in Japan has been growing at about 3% a year (Sapsford, 2005). The popularity of what Americans consider traditional companion animals is a fairly recent phenomenon in Japan: Dogs and cats have only become popular household pets since the 1960s, although the keeping of birds and fish has a longer history (Franklin, 1999, p.90). Although the practice of keeping dogs and cats as pets is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, the popularity of dogs, particularly small dogs, has increased dramatically. In 2005, there were 1.5 times more pet dogs registered in Japa n than a decade ago (Broun, 2006). Not only are a greater number of Japanese choosing to keep pets, there is evidence that these animals have great emotional significance. According to Richar d Chalfen, Overall, most pet keepers in Japan
30 consider their household pets as family memb ers and as psychologically very close (2003, p. 145). In his study of Japanese pet gravesites, he found that many pet owners (mostly women) come to pray at their deceased pets gravesites regularly as they would for human relatives who had passed (Chalfen, 2000). However, the pet boom in Japan has had some negative consequences. Unfortunately, a large demand for unique dogs in Japan has led to extensive inbreeding and some of the highest rates of canine genetic defects in the world, sometimes four times higher than in the United States and Eu rope (Fackler, 2006). In recent years, small dog breeds have become very trendy with young women and childless couples for whom canines possessing unusual appearances (e.g. rare coat colors) sometimes function as status symbols (Fackler, 2006). Although several factors play a part in pe t overpopulation and the subsequent need for companion animal euthanasia (Frank, 2004), the changing trendiness of certain dog breeds in Japan has likely contri buted to the increased number of healthy pets being taken to animal shelters (NPR, 1999). It has been suggested that regarding pets as family members is only common in countries in which the majority of citizens ar e of European decent. (Al-Fayez et al, 2003). Economically, Japan is much like the United States in that citizens have a large amount of disposable income, but culturally, the two countri es are very different. For example, the United States values individualism and Japan has t ypically been labeled a collectivist nation (Matsumoto, Kudoh, & Takeuchi, 1996). Japan is one of the only industrialized countries for which there has not been rapid growth in the number of one-person households since the 1960s (Sorrentino, 1990). Sorrentio ( 1990, p. 52) reports that 8.6% of Japanese live alone while 30.4% of Americans do so. Many Japanese live in tw o and three generation households (Sorrentino, 1990). Population density and tradi tional values encourage living w ith family rather than alone
31 or with non-relatives. Japan is generally more traditional than the U.S. in terms of family dynamics (Rindfuss, Choe, Bumpass & Tsuya, 2004). For instance, the divorce rate in Japan is about half that of the United States (Rethe rford et al., 2001), and ch ildbearing outside of marriage is a rare occurrence in Japan, but not in the U.S. (Presser, 2001). According to Clayton Naff, in prewar rural Japan, an unmarried woma n who became pregnant was often expected to kill herself for the sake of ie (1994, p.55). Ie (meaning household) was the basic unit of Japanese law until 1947 (Iwasawa, 1998, p.233). Ie treated the majority of civil and criminal matters as they pertained to families rather than individuals. Sanctions against behaviors that compromise traditional families have decrease d dramatically, but divorce, out-of-wedlock childbearing, and living alone s till carry social stigma, which discourages their incidence. Varying degrees of economic development and l ong-standing cultural traditions are likely to both contribute to the amount of emotional significance pets have for their owners and the roles companion animals play in different societies.
32 CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Data The data for the present study com es from the first wave of the Japanese General Social Survey (JGSS), collected in 2000. I will use the la test version of this survey available for download through ICPSR, last updated in April of 2007, and conduct secondary analysis. The JGSS is based on the United States General So cial Survey and was designed to solicit demographic information, as well as gauge attitudes on a broad range of issues from people living in Japan. The first wave attempted to su rvey 4,500 men and women ages 20 to 89, selected from 300 locations in 18 regional blocks w ithin Japan via a two-stage stratified random sampling. The response rate was 64.9%, with a to tal of 2893 completed questionnaires. The final sample includes 1575 females (54.4%) and 1318 males (45.6%). No rmally distributed, participants mean age is 50.92. The sample incl udes respondents age 20 and over because this age marks legal adulthood in Japan. Race and ethnicity were not measured due to the homogeneous nature of the target population. Procedures The Japanese General Social Surveys (JG SS) are designed and conducted by the Institute of Regional Studies at Osaka University of Co mmerce in collaboration with the Institute of Social Science at the University of Tokyo under the direction of Ichiro Tanioka, Michio Nitta, Hiroki Sato and Noriko Iwai. The project is funded by a Gakuj utsu Frontier Grant from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for the 1999-2003 academic years. Datasets are compiled with cooper ation from the SSJ Data Archive, Information Center for Social Science Research on Japan, Inst itute of Social Science, and the University of Tokyo. All JGSS interviews are administered in Japa nese. English translati ons of the interviews,
33 codebooks, and supplements are provided as a c onvenience for researchers. The English-version of the materials include 38 pages of self-adm inistered questions and 36 pages of face-to-face interview items. The order in which the self -administered questionnair es and the in-person interviews were given must have varied, as there is an item re garding which part was completed first. Further procedural details have not been made available to English-speaking researchers. Measures Outcome Variables The outcome variable for s ubjective well being is a scale composed of several items measuring satisfaction with different areas of life and a question about gl obal happiness. First I created a variable called satisf action with different areas of li fe in which I took the mean of respondents answers to six items concerning thei r satisfaction with different aspects of their lives. Specifically, this included their place of residen ce, their non-work activities, their family lives, their households current financial situatio n, their friendships, and their satisfaction with work or keeping house (depending on which they c onsidered their primary occupation). The first five items were measured on a 5-point scale from satisfied to dissatisfied. The final item is a combination of employed peoples satisfaction with their jobs and homemakers satisfaction with their work. Both these items were also measured on a 5-point scale from satisfied to dissatisfied. The variable satisfaction with di fferent areas of life is reverse coded such that higher scores mean greater satisfaction. Cronbachs alpha for the satisfaction with different areas of life index was .80 and f actor analysis revealed that all five variables load on one component. After the construction of this scale I then averaged it with another item measuring degree of overall happiness. The question Are y ou happy? was also measured from one to five. This variable is given more weight in my subjective well be ing scale because, as a global measure, it allows respondents to factor in importa nt issues that the sat isfaction with different
34 areas of life questions did not assess. The final subjective well being scale has a mean of 3.65, where one equals the lowest le vel of well being and five indi cates the highest level. The distribution of the final variab le (see Figure 4-1) is appr oximately normal. The Pearson correlation for the satisfaction with different areas of life variable and the degree of happiness variable (the items th at make up the final subjective well being scale) is .50 (p <.001). The second outcome variable, a health scale, is a composite of an item which asked respondents to provide an overall health rating and a question about health satisfaction. It should be noted that the item related to satisfaction with health was not included in the factors that make up the satisfaction with different areas of life variable, which I constructed as part of the subjective well being scale. The self-rated health item allowed respondents to answer between one and five, where 1= good and 5= poor. Th e satisfaction variable asked How much satisfaction do you get from your health and phy sical condition? and re sponses varied from satisfied (1) to dissatisfied (5). The final variable is an average of these two items and is reversecoded so that higher scores mean that respondent s have better health/are more satisfied with their health condition. The Pear son correlation for the two origin al variables is .80 (p <.001). Figure 4-2 shows that the mean of this variable is 3.38 and that its distribution approximates a bell-shaped curve. Independent Variables Pet ownership and degree of attachm ent to pe ts are the main independent variables. Pet ownership will be represented as a dummy vari able, where 1= pet owner and 0= non-pet owner. Approximately 38% of the respondents in this sample keep pets (see Figure 4-3). In order to measure attachment to pets, I created an eight-item scale. The Cronbachs alpha for the scale is .92, which includes the following items about meaning of pets: It comforts
35 and relaxes me, It provides vigor to my life, It comforts my loneliness, Caring for pet(s) helps me keep regular hours, It makes me f eel Im needed, It promotes conversation at home, It is my reason for living, and It e xpands my social networks. These items were asked only to pet owners. Respondents could indicate that they strongly agree (=1), agree (=2), somewhat agree (=3), or disagree (= 4) for each of the eight items. Figure 4-4 shows that attachment to pets is norma lly distributed. I have reversed the order of the values so that higher scores mean a deeper attachment to pets, but kept the same units for ease of interpretation. The items which make up the scale did not allo w respondents to strongly disagree with the statements (and may create a floor effect), but because most persons who have strong negative feeling towards a pet will within a short time cease to own the pet, it is unlikely that this is a serious limitation. The mean for the pet attachment scale is 2.53, where one corresponds to the lowest attachment level and four indicates maximal attachment. Unfortunately, although respondents were asked to list the species of their pets, they were not asked to specify which of them they had in mind when answering items th at comprise the pet attachment scale. I control for age, gender, e ducational attainment, household income, employment status, life course position (combination of parental status and marital st atus), cigarette use, alcohol consumption, number of traumatic events in the pa st five years, experien ce of physical violence, the number of family members living in the home, and religious and social service group membership. In models predicting subjective well being I take health condition into account, but obviously exclude this from models in which hea lth scale is the depe ndent variable. Because the literature suggests a nonlinear relationship between ag e and subjective well being in the United States and Europe (Blanchflower & Oswald, 2008), I include age-squared as an independent variable in regres sions that predict subjective well being. Although McCullough and
36 Laurenceau (2004, p.654) found that se lf-rated health is relatively stable until middle age, after which there are rather precipitous declines as people enter older adulthood, I will not include age-squared in models where heath scale is the dependent variable. The rationale is that regressions predicting health scale will be lim ited to respondents age 60 and older making it impossible to determine if there is a differe nce in slopes pre and post middle age for this population even if the variable age-s quared was included in the models. Data Analysis I used SPSS (Statistical Package for the Soci al Sciences) to analyze the data. T-test analyses to compare pet owners and non-owners and a series of ne sted linear regression models are employed to examine the effects of the independent variables on physical health and subjective well being. An alpha level of .05 is cons idered significant for all statistical tests.
37 4.00 2.00 Subjective Well-being scale (mean of satisfaction w/ different areas of life variable and overall happiness variable) 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Frequency Mean =3.6494 Std. Dev. =0.72293 N =2,893 Figure 4-1. Distribution of Subjective Well Being scale 6.00 5.00 4.00 3.00 2.00 1.00 0.00 Health Scale 800 600 400 200 0 Frequency Mean =3.3837 Std. Dev. =1.06494 N =2,868 Figure 4-2. Distributi on of Health scale
38 pet owner not a pet owner PET_OWNER 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0 Count Figure 4-3. Prevalence of Pet Ownership 4.00 3.00 2.00 1.00 Pet Attachment Scale 100 80 60 40 20 0 Frequency Mean =2.5272 Std. Dev. =0.76162 N =1,052 Figure 4-4. Distribution of Pet Owners Attachment
39 CHAPTER 5 RESULTS Bivariate In order to compare pet owners and non-owne rs a series of independent sample t-tests was performed. Although pet keep ing is unrelated to gender, e ducational attainment, likelihood of victimization, and religious group membership, there are statistically significant differences between pet owners and non-owners for the remaining study variables. Sp ecifically, pet owners are generally younger, have higher annual househol d incomes, and tend to live with a greater number of family members. Pet owners are mo re likely to be married, parents, employed, and volunteer with a social service group The incidence of traumatic even ts in the last five years was higher for pet owners than for respondents who did not keep pets. Finally, pet owners are less likely to smoke cigarettes and consume alcohol less frequently than non-owners. Bivariate correlations are found in tables si x through nine. The a ssociation between pet ownership and subjective well-being in Table 5-2 is not significant (p-value = .12), however, the direction of the relationship is positive as anti cipated. Multivariate analyses will determine whether controlling for independe nt variables strengthe ns or weakens the relationship between pet ownership and subjective well-being. The associations in tables 7 and 8 are statistically significant at the .05 level. Table 5-3 shows that, among pet owners, those who are more attached to their pets report higher subjective well-being than those who are less attached. Alt hough the strength of the relationship is weak, it is highly statistically significant (p-value = .000). Without taki ng into account other variables, it is clear that deeper pet att achment among owners is related to higher subjective well-being. The association between pet ownership and health among respondents aged 60 and older is significant and posi tive, but very weak (see Table 5-4) Among respondents aged 60 and over,
40 pet owners tend to have better health than non-pet owners. Af ter controlling for independent variables, this association may change or lose significance. The final bivariate relationship displayed in Table 5-5 demonstrates that, among pet owners aged 60 and older, pet atta chment is unrelated to health. The p-value value is quite high at .609 and it seems unlikely that pet attachment will significantly pred ict health status among older pet owners in multivariate analyses. In summary, bivariate resu lts indicate that the direction of the relationships stated in the hypothese s may be accurate, but the strength of some of the associations may be too weak to reach statistical significant at the .05 level. Multivariate Multiv ariate analyses are found in tables ten through thirteen. The results of the linear regressions in Table 5-6 indi cate that pet ownership does not significantly pred ict respondents well-being for the sample as a whole. The variab le does not reach statistic al significance in any of the seven models. Hypothesis 1 is not supported, as pet owners are no happier than respondents who do not keep companion animals regardless of which other independent variables are controlled for in the model. In fact, very few variable s significantly predict respondents subjective well-bei ng (SWB). Although over a quarter of the variation in the dependent variable (SWB) is explained, almost all of this is account ed for by one variable; namely, self-rated health. Before the introduction of self-rated health, approximately four percent of the variation in SWB is explained. After the introduction of self-rated health, the adjusted R2 jumps dramatically to .23 and does not increase much with the addition of other variables. The coefficient for self-rated health decreases so mewhat with the addition of other independent variables. However, the greatest amount of variat ion that can be explaine d (25.3% in model 7) is only marginally better than the health va riables explanatory power alone.
41 Household income is significantly related to SWB until contact with people variables are included in the final model. Specifically, while those with higher household incomes would seem to be happier, this relationship loses si gnificance when the number of family members living in the home and religious/social service gr oup memberships are taken into account. Life course position and negative life events (the numbe r of traumatic events in the last five years and the experience of violence) are also related to SWB, but do not explain much variation. The typical happy Japanese adult may be one who is married, healthy, lives with several family members, volunteers, and has not been victimized, or experienced any traumatic events in the last five years. Alternatively, if one were to picture an unha ppy Japanese adult, he or she would be unmarried and sick, living alone, not active in a so cial service group, a victim of violence and would have experienced many traumatic events in the last five years. None of this is particularly noteworthy as one might anticipate these relationships. It is perhaps surprising that so few of the other variables are related to Japa nese SWB. Age, gender, educational attainment, household income, employment status, being a smoker, alcohol consumption, and religious group membership are not related to subjectiv e well-being in the final model. The results in Table 5-7 indicate that among pe t owners, stronger attach ment is related to higher subjective well-being after controlling for other variables. Pet attachment significantly predicts SWB among pet owners in all seven models. These findings support hypothesis 2 that among pet owners, those who are more attached to their pets are happier. However, the amount of variation in SWB that pet attachment explains is rather small (4%). The coefficient for pet attachment decreases slightly fr om model to model as other inde pendent variables are included. Self-rated health is the only other significant vari able in any of the mode ls predicting pet owners SWB. All together, the variables explain almost a quarter of the vari ation in the dependent
42 variable. As was the case for the sample as a whol e, health status accounts for the majority of explained variation in pet owners happiness. Interestingly, self ra ted health and pet attachment are the only significant variables in a ny of the models predicting pet owners SWB. Apparently, even fewer independent variables are related to happiness among pet owners than for the sample as a whole. For Japanese pet ow ners, demographic characteristics, life course position, being a smoker, alcohol consumption, ne gative life events, and the amount of contact with people negligibly influence s ubjective well-being. It is intere sting that differe nt (i.e. fewer) variables are related to pet ow ners subjective well be ing compared to the entire sample. Hypothesis 3 is not supporte d by the findings in Table 5-8, as pet ownership is not a significant predictor of health among respondents aged 60 and ol der after other variables are included in the model. Even in the first model, where pet ownership is st atistically significant, it explains a minimal amount of the variation in ol der adults health. All the variables together explain less than seven percent of the variation in health for adults aged 60 and older. One of the most interesting findings is that taking alc ohol consumption into account reveals a hidden relationship between gender and health. In mode ls one through four, it appears that Japanese women are no healthier than Japanese men. After the addition of alcohol consumption in model five, the coefficient for gender more than doubles, gaining statistical signifi cance at the .01 level. After taking alcohol consumption into account, it becomes apparent that Japanese women are generally healthier th an Japanese men. Education, employment status, alcohol consumption, the number of traumatic events in the last five years, the number of family members living in the home, and membership in a social service group are all related to Ja panese older adults heath. The h ealthiest profile is that of a highly educated, employed female who abstains form alcohol, lives with several family
43 members, volunteers with a social service group, and has not experienced any traumatic events in the past five years. Alternatively, the profile of an unhealthy person could be described as an uneducated, unemployed man who drinks heavily, lives alone, does not vo lunteer, and who has experienced many traumatic events in the last fi ve years. These characterizations should be interpreted with caution since the final model explains a me re 6.9% of the variation in older adults health. Pet ownership, age, household income, life course position, being a smoker, victimization, and religious group membership are all unrelated to health among respondents aged 60 and older. The final table illustrates which variables sign ificantly predict the health of pet owners aged 60 and older. The data do not support hypothesi s 4, as pet attachment is not significant in any of the models. Pet owners who are more attached to their companion animals are no healthier than owners who report low attachment levels. As is the case for the entire sub-sample of persons aged 60+, pet-owning older adults ar e healthier when they volunteer in a social service group, are more educated, and have experi enced fewer traumatic events in the previous five years. One unusual finding is that although being female is related to better health after controlling for alcohol consumption in model fi ve, gender loses significance in the next model only to regain it in the final model. This findi ng differs from the rela tionship between gender and alcohol consumption that appeared in the prev ious table predicting the health of adults aged 60 and older, wherein controlli ng for alcohol consumption rev eals a significant association between gender and health which maintains statis tical significance in bo th of the subsequent models. Another noteworthy difference in the predictiv e power of the independent variables for the health of all older adults a nd pet-owning older adults is that fewer variables are statistically
44 significant for predicting the health of pet ow ners 60 and older compared to the entire subsample of older adults. Specifically, employ ment status and alc ohol consumption do not influence older pet owners health, but are significantly related to the health status of older adults in general. Although it would seem that the number of family me mbers living in the home is unrelated to pet owners health, a non-significant finding in this cas e is actually due to decreased sample size. According to the fi nal model, the epitome of a hea lthy, older Japanese pet owner is a highly educated woman who volunteers and has not experienced traumatic events in the last five years. Conversely, diminished health among older Japanese pet owners is associated with being an uneducated man who is not a member of a social service gr oup and has experienced many traumatic events in the prev ious five years. The data i ndicate that pet attachment, age, household income, employment status, life c ourse position, being a smoker, alcohol consumption, victimization, number of family memb ers living in the home, and membership in a religious group do not significantly affect the health of Japanese pet owners aged 60 and older.
45 Table 5-1. Comparison of Pet Owners and Non-owners Variables Pet owners (n= 1094-1105) Non-owners (n= 1771-1786) t-value p-value Age Female Education Household Income Employed Married Parent Smoker Alcohol consumption Number of traumatic events in past 5 years Victim of violence Number of family members living in the home Religious group membership Social service group membership M SD 49.75 15.37 .54 .50 3.03 1.11 14.46 7.00 .71 .46 .76 .43 .81 .39 1.65 .48 3.67 2.30 1.28 1.24 .27 .45 3.86 1.55 .08 .27 .09 .29 M SD 51.63 17.20 .55 .50 3.00 1.22 13.33 7.67 .61 .49 .70 .46 .77 .42 1.71 .46 4.01 2.32 1.14 1.18 .26 .44 3.22 1.55 .06 .24 .07 .26 -3.05 -0.36 0.95 4.00 5.17 3.63 2.74 -3.25 -3.85 3.17 0.76 10.78 1.63 1.98 .002 .723 .342 .000 .000 .000 .006 .001 .000 .002 .450 .000 .104 .048 Table 5-2. Correlation between Pet ownership and Subjective Well-being for entire sample Pet OwnerSubjective Well-being Pet Owner Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N 1 2891 .03 .120 2891 Subjective Well-being Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N .03 .120 2891 1 2893 Table 5-3. Correlation between Pet Attachme nt and Subjective Well-being among Pet Owners Pet AttachmentSubjective Well-being Pet Attachment Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N 1 1052 .12 .000 1052 Subjective Well-being Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N .12 .000 1052 1 2893
46 Table 5-4. Correlation between Pet Ownership and Health among Respondents aged 60 and older Pet OwnerHealth Pet Owner Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N 1 953 .07 .045 940 Health Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N .07 .045 940 1 940 Table 5-5. Correlation between Pet Attachment and Health among Pet Owners aged 60 and older Pet AttachmentHealth Pet Attachment Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N 1 274 .03 .609 274 Health Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N .03 .609 274 1 940
47 Table 5-6. Results of Linear Regres sions Predicting Effect of independent variables on Subj ective Well-being Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6 Model 7 Pet Owner Demographics Age Age2 Female Education Household Income Employed Life Course Position Unmarried, childlessa Unmarried, parenta Married, childlessa Health Smoker Alcohol consumption Self-rated health Negative Experiences # of traumatic events in past 5 years Victim of violence Contact with People # of family members living in the home Religious group membership Social service group membership Adjusted R2 F .04(.02) .00 .54 .06(.04) .00(.18) .00(-.05) .04(.03) .01 4.00** .03(.02) .00(.37) .00(-.25) .03(.02) -.01(-.01) .01(.10)** .05(.03) .02 4.10*** .02(.01) .00(.11) .00(.04) .09(.06) -.00(-.01) .01(.09)** .04(.03) -.55(-.14)*** -.15(-.08)* .12(.02) .04 5.08*** -.01(-.01) .00(-.38) .00(.51) .01(.01) -.03(-.05) .01(.08)** -.07(-.04) -.49(-.13)*** -.14(-.08)* .03(.01) -.01(-.01) .01(.03) .27(.45)*** .23 22.35*** .00(.00) -.00(-.46) .00(.57) -.03(-.02) -.03(-.05) .01(.09)** -.01(-.05) -.48(-.12)*** -.13(-.08)* .00(.00) -.01(-.01) .01(.03) .26(.43)*** -.06(-.10)*** -.14(-.08)* .25 21.05*** -.04(-.02) -.00(-.59) .00(.70) -.02(-.01) -.03(-.05) .01(.05) -.08(-.05) -.42(-.11)*** -.11(-.06) .06(.01) -.01(-.01) .01(.03) .25(.42)*** -.07(-.11)*** -.15(-.08)** .04(.09)** .03(.01) .15(.06)* .25 18.28*** Notes: ***p<.001; **p<.01; *p<.05 2000 Japanese General Social Survey N= 2893 (total sample) St andardized coefficients in p arentheses a. Married, parents are the reference group
48 Table 5-7. Results of Linear Regressions Predicting Effect of independent variab les on Subjective Wellbeing among Pet Owners Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6 Model 7 Pet Attachment Demographics Age Age2 Female Education Household Income Employed Life Course Position Unmarried, childlessa Unmarried, parenta Married, childlessa Health Smoker Alcohol consumption Self-rated health Negative Experiences # of traumatic events in past 5 years Victim of violence Contact with People # of family members living in the home Religious group membership Social service group membership Adjusted R2 F .18(.20)** .04 10.96** .17(.19)* .00(1.17) -.00(-.97) .05(.03) .07 6.15*** .17(.18)* .00(1.44) -.00(-1.21) .06(.04) .03(.04) .01(.05) .09(.06) .07 3.79** .16(.18)* .00(1.43) -.00(-1.20) .08(.05) .02(.03) .00(.04) .09(.06) -.90(-.11) -.02(-.01) .08(.01) .07 2.92** .13(.14)* .00(1.11) -.00(-.91) -.02(-.01) -.03(-.04) .00(.03) .03(.02) -.69(-.08) -.02(-.01) .34(.03) .03(.02) .00(.01) .26(.44)*** .25 7.73*** .13(.15)* .00(1.03) -.00(-.84) -.03(-.02) -.03(-.05) .00(.04) .03(.02) -.69(-.08) -.01(-.01) .36(.03) .02(.01) .00(.01) .26(.44)*** -.02(-.04) -.03(-.02) .24 6.70*** .14(.15)* .00(.89) -.00(-.71) -.05(-.03) -.03(-.05) -.00(-.02) .02(.02) -.65(-.08) .02(.01) .46(.04) .03(.02) .01(.02) .26(.43)*** -.03(-.05) -.05(-.03) .04(.09) -.06(-.03) .11(.05) .25 5.80*** Notes: ***p<.001; **p<.01; *p<.05 2000 Japanese General Social Surv ey N= 1052 (pet owners) Stan dardized coeffi cients in pare ntheses a. Married, parents are the reference group
49 Table 5-8. Results of Linear Regressions Predicting Effect of independent variables on the Health of Respondents aged 60+ Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6 Model 7 Pet Owner Demographics Age Female Education Household Income Employed Life Course Position Unmarried, childlessa Unmarried, parenta Married, childlessa Health Smoker Alcohol consumption Negative Experiences # of traumatic events in past 5 years Victim of violence Contact with People # of family members living in the home Religious group membership Social service group membership Adjusted R2 F .16(.07)* .00 4.03* .14(.06) -.01(-.06) .06(.03) .01 2.64* .13(.05) .00(.02) .13(.06) .09(.08)* .00(.02) .31(.13)*** .02 4.40*** .13(.05) .01(.03) .15(.07) .09(.09)* .00(.01) .32(.13)*** -.26(-.04) -.03(-.01) .29(.04) .02 3.28** .11(.04) .01(.05) .31(.14)** .09(.08)* .00(.01) .30(.12)*** -.25(-.04) -.02(-.01) .31(.04) -.08(-.03) -.06(-.14)*** .03 3.90*** .14(.06) .01(.03) .24(.11)* .09(.09)* .00(.02) .28(.11)** -.22(-.04) -.00(-.00) .26(.03) -.08(-.03) -.06(-.14)*** -.14(-.15)*** -.18(-.06) .06 5.44*** .09(.04) .01(.03) .26(.12)** .09(.09)* -.00(-.02) .27(.11)** -.12(-.02) .03(.01) .36(.05) -.06(-.02) -.06(-.13)** -.14(-16)*** -.16(-.06) .07(.10)** .01(.00) .29(.08)* .07 5.24*** Notes: ***p<.001; **p<.01; *p<.05 2000 Japanese General Social Survey N= 953 (respondents aged 60+) Standardized coeffic ients in parentheses a. Married, parents are the reference group
50 Table 5-9. Results of Linear Regressions Predicting Effect of independent variables on the Health of Pet Owners aged 60+ Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6 Model 7 Pet Attachment Demographics Age Female Education Household Income Employed Life Course Position Unmarried, childlessa Unmarried, parenta Married, childlessa Health Smoker Alcohol consumption Negative Experiences # of traumatic events in past 5 years Victim of violence Contact with People # of family members living in the home Religious group membership Social service group membership Adjusted R2 F .04(.03) -.00 .26 .04(.03) -.00(-.02) .17(.07) -.00 .60 .04(.03) .01(.07) .25(.11) .16(.15)* -.00(-.01) .15(.06) .01 1.37 .05(.03) .01(.08) .29(.13) .16(.16)* -.00(-.02) .16(.07) -.88(-.07) -.03(-.01) -.76(-.04) .00 1.11 .06(.04) .02(.09) .38(.17)* .17(.16)* -.01(-.03) .14(.06) -.81(-.06) -.04(-.01) -.82(-.05) .09(.03) -.05(-.11) .01 1.13 .07(.05) .01(.06) .32(.14) .16(.15)* -.00(-.01) .13(.06) -.79(-.06) .00(.00) -.69(-.04) .06(.02) -.04(-.10) -.11(-.14)* -.21(-.08) .02 1.50 .07(.05) .02(.09) .36(.16)* .16(.16)* -.01(-.08) .09(.04) -.68(-.05) -.07(-.03) -.43(-.02) .10(.04) -.04(-.08) -.11(-.13)* -.30(-.11) .08(.12) .02(.01) .63(.20)** .06 2.06* Notes: ***p<.001; **p<.01; *p<.05 2000 Japanese General Social Survey N= 274 (pet owners aged 60 +) Standardized coefficien ts in parentheses a. Married, parents are the reference group
51 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION To summ arize, the findings from this st udy do not support hypotheses one, three, and four. Hypothesis two is not rej ected based on statically signifi cant outcomes. Specifically, the data indicate that subjective well-being is not enhanced by pet ownershi p, older adults health status is not augmented by pet ownership, and pe t attachment is unrelated to health for pet owners aged 60 and older in this Japanese population. However, the data confirm that, among pet owners, attachment level is positively re lated to subjective well-being. Together, the independent variables explain appr oximately 25% of the variation in the subjective well-being of pet owners and the overall sample (though fewer factors are significantly associated with pet owners happiness). The models explain a considerably smaller amount of variability in health status, as the independent factor s account for less than seven per cent of the health variation in adults aged 60 and older (for pet owners and th e entire sub-sample of older adults). Fewer independent variables significantly predict the health status of older pet owners compared to the number related to the health status of all adults aged 60 and older. There are several possible in terpretations for the lack of associations among key independent variables and health /subjective well-being. The regr essions in Table 5-6 indicate that pet-keeping does not increas e the subjective well-being of Ja panese adults. This result, coupled with the finding that stronger attachme nt to pets is related to higher SWB among owners, suggests that mere pet ownership is not enough to bolster happiness. Pets may enhance owners sense of well-being, but only among owners who establish a strong emotional connection with their animals. Ory and Gol dberg interviewed 1,073 white, married women aged 65 to 75 living in Washington County, Maryland ( 1983). Their results are consistent with the current study as pet owners were no happier th an non-owners and pet attachment was positively
52 related to happiness among those who kept comp anion animals. Ory and Goldberg separated owners into two groups based on level of pet at tachment finding that slightly more respondents who have pets and feel very attached to them re port the highest levels of happiness as compared to owners with low attachment levels and pe rsons who do not keep pets (Ory and Goldberg, 1983). Alternatively, a lack of association could also be explai ned by the myriad of costs associated with pet ownership. In Japan, it may be that, for the majority of owners, pets are more of a liability than as asset. Podberscek notes there are good and bad aspects to keeping companion animals (2006, p.24) Excessive noise, destructive behaviors, the time, energy, and money associated with pet care, bites/scratches, and zoonotic diseases may cancel out some of the positive aspects of pet owners hip. It is also possible that so me unhappy people acquire pets to fill a void in their lives. Depending on the preval ence on this behavior, the relationship between pet ownership and subjective well-being could be greatly affected. Furthermore, not all respondents who indicate that they are pet owners interact frequen tly with the animals living in their homes. A pet owner may do little more than share a dwelling with a companion animal if it really belongs to another household member. There may be similar reasons for the lack of support for hypotheses three and four. Pet ownership in the older adult population and pe t attachment among older pet owners are both unrelated to health status. First, it is possible that many active (i.e. hea lthy) older adults do not acquire pets because they do not wish to be restricted by pet-care re sponsibilities. Among the Japanese aged 60 and older who do keep pets, th e healthier, more activ e owners may not spend enough time at home to develop deep connections with their animals. Conversely, a portion of the least healthy and active ol der adults may become pet owne rs due to an unmet need for
53 companionship. Some strongly-attached pet owne rs may also be less active and healthy. The time they spend at home (fostering deep connect ions with their pets) may be a product of compromised health status. Another reason for the lack of significance in the final tables may be that pets do not carry the same emotional signif icance in Japan that they do in Western, industrialized nations. The history of pet-keeping in Japan spans only a few decades (Franklin, 1999) whereas petkeeping in the United States spans centur ies (Grier, 2006). The reasons for acquiring a companion animal and the bond between person and pet may be much different in Japan than in the U.S. The evolution of the pet from possession to family member was a slow process in North America (Kennedy & McGarvey, 2008). It is pos sible that the signifi cance of companion animals in Japan may increase in the future such that pet ownership and/or pet attachment will be related to enhanced health status. Finally, the results of this study support hypothesis two. Pet attachment among Japanese owners is significantly and positively relate d to subjective well-being. Although a causal relationship cannot be established using cross sectional data, the findings may indicate that pets lead to an enhanced sense of well-being when the human-animal bond is strong. An alternative explanation is that certain pet owners are happier people who ha ve the capacity to bond more deeply with companion animals. As mentioned previously, pets may benefit their owners both directly by improving mood and indirectly by ex panding social networks. A recent study of Japanese dog owners provides evidence that th e bonds between people an d pets have direct neuro-chemical benefits for humans (Nagasawa, Kikusui, Onaka, & Ohta, 2009). Fifty-five pet owners were recruited from dog-training classes for the research. The authors found that interaction with ones own dog was associated with an increase in urinary oxytocin
54 concentrations (Nagasawa, Kikusui, Onaka, & Oh ta, 2009). When dogs stared into their owners eyes it prompted the release of a chemical a ssociated with social bond ing (Nagasawa, Kikusui, Onaka, & Ohta, 2009). Dubbed the neuropept ide of love (Neumann, 2007), oxytocin is associated with bonding and attachment in people and animals (Zeki, 2007). It modulates social behaviors including human trust and decrea ses anxiety (Neumann, 2007). Logically, the increases in oxytocin experienced by attached pet owners coul d influence their sense of wellbeing. Nagasawa, Kikusui, Onaka, and Ohta (2009, p. 441) assert that th eir research may have identified the neural mechanisms by which as sociations with dogs affect the physical and mental health of humans. It remains to be seen whether oxytocin increases following interactions with animals other than ones own dog or with species besides Canis lupus familiaris. This study expands on what is currently know n about the determinan ts of subjective wellbeing and health in Japan. Results indicate th at, among owners, pet attachment is positively related to subjective well-being. According to Sugita (2005), pe ts will play an increasingly important role in Japanese society. Because Ja panese culture is unique and must be understood on its own terms (Kawamura 1994), the human comp anion-animal relationship deserves further investigation in this context and in other non-western societies. Limitations Because th is study analyzes data collected at one point in time, it is not possible to establish the causal direction of most relationships It is certainly possibl e that individuals who are happier and healthier have a greater capacity to care for companion animals and are more emotionally available to foster deep bonds with pe ts. In other words, even if all the hypotheses had been supported, a greater sense of well-being and better health may precede the acquisition of a pet and also influence degree of attachment to the animal.
55 Suggestions for Future Research In future studies, it m ay be fruitful for rese archers to focus on pet attachment as it relates to well-being rather than pet ownership per se since results from the cu rrent study indicate that Japanese who are less attached to their compan ion animals do not benefit from pet keeping in terms of subjective well-being. It would also be interesting to control fo r the type of pet when examining if pets influence human health/happiness. Additionally, the person who is primarily responsible for the care of the animal would likely be more af fected by pet ownership than persons whose pet ownership merely consists of living in the same home. When designing survey items, the question are you primarily responsible for the care of your pet? may constitute an important follow-up to the pet ownership question. Finally, the data suggest that pet owners and non-owners are different. Pet owners tend to be younger, have higher annual household incomes, and live with a greater number of family members. Pet owners are also more likely to be married, parents, employed, and volunteer with a social service group. The incidence of recent trauma tic events is higher for pet owners than for respondents who do not keep pets, but they are le ss likely to smoke cigarettes and they consume alcohol less frequently than nonowners. Variables measuring life course position, frequency of traumatic events, victimization, number of family members living in the ho me, and social service group membership do significantly predict subjective well-being for the sample as a whole, but are not related to pet owners happiness. Simila rly, the variables measuring employment status, alcohol consumption, and number of family memb ers living in the home ar e all related to older adults health in the general sample, but do not significantly predict the health of pet owners aged 60 and older. As noted earlier, however, lack of significance betw een number of family members living in the home and ol der pet owners health is caus ed by decreased sample size. Future studies may be necessary to e xplore whether pet owners in Japan differ
56 fundamentally from non-owners in terms of subjective well-being and health since it is not clear in the current study whether this stems from fundamental differences between the groups or reduced sample size. Independent sample t-te st findings would tend to support the former explanation since they show th at pet owners and non-owners di ffer significantly for most study variables. According to Arluke and Sanders, human-companion anim al relationships are fertile areas for sociological exploration (1996, p.2).
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65 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kathryn Gerlach, the eldest of three ch ildren, was born in Orlando, Florida. After graduating summ a cum laude from University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Kathryn was awarded an Alumni Fellowship to continue her education. She completed her M.A. in August 2009.