Quality of life of tertiary students and their attachment to a companion animal

Gerber, Michelle (2016-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Companion animals have become an important aspect in the lives of many individuals (Serpell, 2010). It has been shown that attachment to a companion animal may have a beneficial impact on several aspects of an individual’s life (O’Haire, 2010). Collectively, these aspects can influence an individual’s assessment of their quality of life (Bourssa et al., 2015). The primary aim of the study was to determine the relationship between attachment to companion animals and quality of life of companion animal owning students at a local university. A secondary aim was to investigate the difference between companion animal owners and non-owners with regards to their quality of life. Three theories were utitlised in the current study namely attachment theory (Kurdek, 2009), social support theory (Lakely & Cohen, 2000) and the biophilia hypothesis (Amiot & Bastian, 2014). Quantitative data was collected through self-report questionnaires, namely the Lexington Attactment to Pets Scale (LAPS) and the World Health Organisation Quality of Life Assessment-Brief (WHOQOL-BREF) and was analysed in order to answer the research questions. Data was collected from 276 students at a local university in the Western Cape. The participants ranged between 18 and 56 years, with an average age of 23 years. The participants were mostly white, female and undergraduate students. The majority of the participants were currently companion animal owners (n=211). The results revealed no significant correlation between attachment to a companion animal and quality of life total scores. Significant correlations were found between the general attachment subscale of the LAPS and the social relationships subscale of the WHOQOL-BREF. Significant correlations were also found between the animal rights subscale of the LAPS and psychological health subscale of the WHOQOL-BREF, as well as the WHOQOL-BREF (Total score). It was also found that companion animal owners scored significantly higher on their quality of life total scores than non-owners. Women scored significantly higher than men on the LAPS. Men scored signficantly higher on the WHOQOL-BREF (Total score) than women. Limitations of the current study and recommendations for future study are discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Troeteldiere as geselskapsdiere speel ’n belangrike rol in die lewens van baie mense (Serpell, 2010). Dit is bewys dat ’n gehegtheid aan geselskapsdiere 'n voordelige impak kan hê op verskeie aspekte van 'n individu se lewe (O'Haire, 2010). Gesamentlik vorm hierdie aspekte van menslike uitlewing dit wat individue oorweeg by die beoordeling van hul lewenskwaliteit (Bourssa et al., 2015). Die primêre doel van hierdie studie is om die verhouding tussen die gehegtheid aan geselskapsdiere en die lewenskwaliteit van eienaars van hierdie diere te bepaal, spesifiek met betrekking tot studente wat geselskapsdiere eienars is by ‘n plaaslike universiteit. ’n Sekondêre doel is om die verskil in lewenskwaliteit tussen eienaars en nie-eienaars van geselskapsdiere te ondersoek. Drie teorieë is gebruik vir studie, naamlik die gehegtheidsteorie (Kurdek 2009), sosiale ondersteuningsteorie (Lakely & Cohen, 2000) en die biophilia hipotese (Amiot & Bastian, 2014). Kwantitatiewe data is ingesamel deur middel van selfvoltooiingsvraelyste, naamlik die Lexington Skaal vir Gehegtheid aan Troeteldiere (LSGT), en die Wêreld Gesondheid Organisasie Lewens Kwaliteit Assessering - Kort (WGOLA-KORT). Die resultate is ontleed ten einde die navorsingsvrae te beantwoord. Data is ingesamel uit ’n steekproef van 276 studente by ’n enkele plaaslike universiteit in die Wes-Kaap. Die deelnemers aan die steekproef se ouderdomme het gewissel tussen 18 en 56 jaar, met 'n gemiddelde ouderdom van 23 jaar. Die deelnemers was meestal wit, vroulik en voorgraadse studente. Die meerderheid van die deelnemers was eienaars van geselskapsdiere (n=211). Die resultate van die studie het bewys dat daar geen beduidend korrelasie tussen gehegtheid aan geselskapsdiere en die kwaliteit van lewe volgens die totale tellings is nie. Beduidende korrelasies is wel gevind tussen die algemene gehegtheid subskaal van die LSGT en die sosiale verhoudings subskaal van die WGOLA-KORT. Beduidende korrelasies is ook gevind tussen die regte-van-diere subskaal van die LSGT en sielkundige gesondheid subskaal van die WGOLA-KORT (Totale telling). Daar is ook bevind dat eienaars van die geselskapsdiere aansienlik hoër tellings op persoonlike lewenskwaliteitmetings behaal het in vergelyking met nie-eienaars. Vrouens het aansienlik hoër tellings as mans behaal het op die LSGT en die LSGT subskale. Mans het aansienlik hoër tellings op die WGOLA-KORT (Totale telling) behaal in vergelyking met vrouens. Die beperkinge van die huidige studie en aanbevelings vir toekomstige studies word bespreek.

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