Investigating the emotion regulation strategies implemented by adults grieving the death of a pet in Australia and the UK

Chloe Green, Maria Kangas, Ian Fairholm

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Pet-related grief has been for the most part been overlooked in psychological research. The aim of this study was twofold. First, to investigate whether the ambiguous loss of one’s pet was associated with heightened grief compared to certain pet death; and second, to examine whether adaptive emotion regulation (ER) strategies were related to less pet grief reactions compared to maladaptive ER strategies. One hundred and thirty-four bereaved individuals recruited from the UK and Australia completed an online survey. Within the Australian sample no significant difference in grief severity emerged between individuals who had experienced ambiguous pet loss (N = 10) vs. certain death (N = 65). For the second aim, based on 67 Australian and 56 UK participants who had experienced the death of their pet, maladaptive ER strategies including catastrophizing were positively associated with heightened grief, anger and trauma symptoms following pet death, while more ‘adaptive’ ER strategies were significantly associated with less grief, anger, trauma and guilt symptoms. The findings have clinical implications for individuals recovering from the death of their pet.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)484-501
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Loss and Trauma
    Volume23
    Issue number6
    Early online date2018
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2018

    Keywords

    • pets
    • emotion regulation
    • grief
    • loss

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