The importance of human-animal bonding in developing emotion regulation, social skills and mental health in children, teen-agers and adults has always been recognized. Attachment to a pet is fundamental for human beings.

He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” Immanuel Kant

This famous expression involves the concept from which one of the most beautiful existing relationships can be extrapolated. The link that can be created between two different species: human beings and animals.

Literature, cinema, but above all facts of everyday life (often made famous), are the tangible proof of the indissoluble bond that animals and people can generate between themselves; a true relationship that arises from trust and mutual respect.

Here is a study that may spark debate among pet owners, as it shows that too much attachment to pets would be a sign of an attachment disorder.

A recent study published in the journal BMC Psychiatry tells us that people very attached to their pet are more likely to suffer from a behavioral disorder and more specifically attachment disorders.

To reach this conclusion – which immediately makes our connection with our pets less romantic – researchers at Saarland University conducted a survey with 610 dog owners, mostly women aged 18 to 73. They asked the participants to complete various questionnaires to assess their mental health status and the type of connections they develop in general. By analyzing the answers, the scientists found a link between being attached to their dogs and signs of mental disorders and emotional distress.

A compensatory strategy

The study goes even further by pointing out that this intense bond with a pet demonstrates a lack of trust in others and a fear of being rejected or not being loved. Attachment to one’s pet would thus be an attachment strategy to compensate for the difficulty of being closed to other humans. A difficulty probably stemming from a lack of emotional security during childhood.

For sure I am super attached to my gorgeous cat, I cannot say though if I am disturbed 🙂

What about you? Do you have a pet? Do you feel attached to them?