Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Lynne Cohen

Second Advisor

Dr Elizabeth Kaczmarek


Companion animals have been identified as improving the physical and emotional health of some older adults (Collis & McNicholas, 1998). This qualitative study explored the psychological impact of owning a cat or a dog for persons aged 65 or older who resided alone. Nine participants, two male and seven female, were recruited through local media advertisements in the Guildford area to participate in a semi-structured interview about their relationship with their pet. Following transcription the semi-structured interviews were analysed using thematic analysis (Aronson, 1994). Four major themes emerged with participants reporting their pets provided satisfaction that impacted on several areas including companionship, social support, affectionate bonds and as a combat against loneliness.