Children are closer to pets than their own siblings: study

A new study of children’s relationship with their pets has revealed that children derive more satisfaction from their animal companions and get along better with them than with their own siblings.

A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge surveyed 12-year-old 77 children, and found closer companionship between children and their pets than between children and their siblings.

They were also surprised to find that girls reported more companionship, disclosure as well as conflict with their pets than boys did. Dog owners were found leading the pack in terms of companionship and satisfaction as compared with other pet owners.

Sharing findings of the study, Matt Cassels said, “One of the more striking findings from our study is that children do not report less disclosure with their pets than with their siblings despite the fact that pets cannot communicate meaningfully or understand what is being said to them.”

The study also highlighted the pet animals’ primary advantages over siblings, such as pets are not critical, they don’t disagree, and they never share a secret.

The researchers reported their findings in the most recent edition of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, which publishes scholarly empirical research relating to human development.