The Association of Pet Ownership and Attachment with Perceived Stress among Chinese Adults

Cynthia Sau Ting Wu, Rosa Sze Man Wong, Wing Hin Chu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Pet ownership is associated with both positive and negative emotions. Given that not everyone responds to pet care in a stressful way, perceptions of companion animals may play a role in how owners respond to them. In this study, we explored the relationship between pet ownership and perceived stress among Chinese pet owners. We also examined the effect of care practices and perceptions of pets on perceived stress. A total of 288 Hong Kong Chinese, adult pet owners, aged 18 to 70 years, were recruited. Participants were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire covering demographics, pet ownership background, pet attachment, and perceived stress. Regression analyses were performed to examine pet attachment in different demographic groups and its relationship with perceived stress. Moderation and mediation analyses were performed to elucidate their underlying mechanisms. After adjusting for demographics and pet ownership background, greater attachment to a pet was associated with lower stress in owners. The perception of pets as family members minimized the stressful burden of pet care. More time spent caring for a pet increased attachment to that animal which in turn reduced stress in owners. The findings suggest attachment to companion animals and the perception of them as family members can help manage and reduce stress in owners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-586
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2018


  • China
  • human–animal interaction
  • perceived stress
  • pet attachment
  • pet care
  • pet ownership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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