3 research outputs found

    The influence of the human-companionate dog bond on psychological well-being

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    Many individuals across the world own dogs for a variety of reasons. For some individuals, dogs can be viewed as providing the most important relationship in their lives. Others may own dogs for protection, companionship, and even health benefits. Some families across the world view their dogs as family members and a vital aspect of the family unit. This study explored the perceived bond between a human and a dog and how this bond influenced the human‟s psychological well-being. Although studies have been conducted on the human-companionate dog bond, empirical research on the perceptions of the bond between a dog and a human and the influence it has on an individual‟s psychological well-being, falls short. Studies on the human-companionate bond have been on the rise internationally, yet studies in this field in the South African context are scarce. This study contributes to psychology‟s broad body of knowledge regarding the human-companionate dog bond and identifies the important influences the bond has on human psychological well-being. The researcher utilized a qualitative research approach. A non-probability purposive sample was employed and semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven participants. Two participants were male and five were female. All participants had developed a bond with their dog and were able to speak English fluently. Interviews were conducted until data saturation was reached. Results demonstrate that having a human-companionate dog bond can enhance an individual's psychological well-being. Themes identified demonstrate that a human-companionate dog bond can enhance physical health, relational well-being, and mental health. This bond also fulfils specific individual needs which enhance psychological well-being. Limitations of the study and recommendations for further research are identified