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Soc Work. 2006 Jul;51(3):257-68.

The animal-human bond and ethnic diversity.

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School of Social Work, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1802, USA.


Affectionate relationships with animal companions have health-enhancing effects on people and enrich their quality of life, and the majority of families with companion animals regard their animals as family members. Research has also suggested that these relationships are complicated and vary depending on a number of factors, yet there has been almost no exploration of ethnic diversity in relationships with companion animals. This descriptive study explores the relationships among race and ethnicity, beliefs about companion animals, and ownership practices. Findings indicate that in many instances there were no statistical differences by ethnicity. Nonetheless, describing oneself as white, American Indian, or both was associated with being more likely to have companion animals. Those identifying themselves as of Hispanic or Spanish origin were less likely to have cats and to have their cat or dog spayed or neutered and more likely to say they get a sense of personal safety from their dog or cat. The implications of these findings are discussed, and suggestions for research and practice are offered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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