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The preference for animal companionship over human companionship may be predicted by attitudes about pet ownership. We hypothesized that pet attitudes could predict preferences for relationships with pets over humans. We sampled 182 people who named a person and a pet they love and care about. Participants rated their feelings of love, time spent, enjoyment, and equity in both their human and pet relationships. We also presented seven hypothetical negative event scenarios that involve both the pet and human and asked participants to predict their feelings and reactions based on these events. The Pet Attitudes Scale (Templer et al., 1981) was used to assess attitudes towards pets. People had similar positive feelings about their pet-human and human-human relationships. However, people were more likely to react negatively towards a human compared to a pet. Positive pet attitudes predicted more positive and less negative reactions to pets. Positive pet attitudes can predict preference for pet relationships over human relationships and may help researchers identify what relationships work best depending on a personʻs pet attitudes.
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