Companion cats and the social support systems of men with aids

Paolo Castelli, Lynette A Hart, R. Lee Zasloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


60 male pet owners with AIDS were given a formal questionnaire including items related to demographic, lifestyle, and pet ownership, as well as the Comfort from Companion Animals Scale, the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale, and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28). The men lived in the San Francisco area and received assistance from Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS), a community organization, in caring for their companion dogs or cats. Participants were a convenience sample of pet owners who volunteered from among 500 PAWS clients and who do not necessarily represent a random sample of men with AIDS who keep companion animals. For these men, their comfort from companion animals was significantly associated with having cats but not dogs, closeness with friends, dissatisfaction with their practical support system, and listing pets as a source of support. Loneliness was negatively associated with having a large practical support network, scoring as healthy on the General Health Questionnaire, and living alone. For these male pet owners with AIDS, pet cats appeared to complement their supportive relationships with friends and family that were protective against loneliness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-187
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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