Changing homes, changing housing, changing relationships: Pets and care experienced children and young people

Project Details


The aim of this project was to explore the significance of pets for children and young people with care experience and examine the impact of disruptions to those relationships when moving into or between care settings. It recognised the significant change that these children and young people encounter and the important role that pets can play in terms of providing support, companionship and affection, and helping to develop positive relationships with other people.

Key findings

Findings revealed:
* the impact of having a pet during childhood, especially when experiencing difficult relationships in the family (mental health benefits and attachment figure, the only secure base for some).
* the emotional impact of losing a special animal
* the significance of dogs as opposed to other types of pet

They also indicated that securely attached individuals had higher self-esteem and better quality of life than those who had insecure (ambivalent or avoidant) attachment styles and that, regardless of gender or attachment style, attachment to a pet that had been important to them was extremely strong.
Short titlePets and changing homes study
Effective start/end date1/12/2131/05/22


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