2008 Scottish Undergraduate Conference
Conference Venue: University of Abertay, Dundee
From: 12 Mar 2008
To: 12 Mar 2008
The Domestic Dog and Human Happiness. Rachel McRitchie
University of Abertay
Objectives: To investigate the relationship between the domestic dog and human happiness.
Design: Between subjects design with two main components, in the first the IV is own a dog or not and the DV is happiness score. In the second component the IV is pictures with or without dog and the DV is overall score of the pictures.
Methods: Participants, 86 male and female Abertay University undergraduates, 37 of which were dog owners and 49 of which were non-dog owners. Each participant was given the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (OHQ) to complete which is a measure of life happiness and then assigned to one of two conditions. In each condition participants were presented with a series of 12 countryside scenes to rate with the difference between the conditions being whether there was a dog present in the image or not. Finally participants who owned a dog were given the Comfort from Companion Animals Scale (CCAS) to complete.
Results: There was no significant effect of the presence of a dog on total picture score although there was a general trend for images with dogs in them being rated higher than those without. Dog owners rated all images irrespective of condition higher. It was also found that female dog owners scored significantly higher on the CCAS than male dog owners suggesting a higher level of perceived comfort from their dog.
Conclusion: It was concluded that there may be an effect of the presence of a dog on happiness but that much more investigation is required. Also while there is no difference in happiness levels between dog and non-dog owners it seems a dog does have the potential to improve the life of someone who wishes to own one.
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