Human-pet attachment can impact the life of both parties, and the identification of underlying characteristics related to attachment style can improve human-pet relationships. We employed structural equation modeling (SEM) to explore associations between human, dog, and cat personalities, owner mental well-being, unwanted pet behavior, and attachment styles in a sample of 2,724 Finnish pet owners (92% women) and their 2,545 dogs and 788 cats. Our findings reveal that owner neuroticism and poor mental well-being are linked to anxious pet attachment in both dog and cat owners. Pet characteristics, such as unwanted behavior and lower human sociability are associated with avoidant attachment style. Overall, this study highlights the significance of individual traits in both pets and owners contributing to insecure attachment styles and underscores the potential to enhance the well-being of both pets and their owners through a deeper understanding of these traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108423
Issue number12
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

Fields of Science

  • Anthrozoology
  • Canine behavior
  • Feline behavior
  • Psychology
  • 413 Veterinary science
  • 515 Psychology

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