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Human-animal interaction (HAI) provides benefits for humans. Emotional attachment to pets is a possible mechanism for benefits but there is no standard operationalization for “attachment to pets.” The study presented here (N = 651) uses a pet attachment measure based on qualitative research about benefits of pets. This measure, the Pet Attachment and Life Impact Scale (PALS), has four factors that measure Love, Regulation, Personal Growth, and Negative Impacts. We present exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis of the instrument. We then examine convergent validity with four a priori derived measures of pet attachment (Anthropomorphism Scale, CENSHARE PAS, CABS, LAPS) and a social support scale. We provide evidence that having a current relationship with a pet is related to higher scores on the PALS than having a former pet relationship, evidencing that the PALS is a relational measure. Overall, females are more attached to pets than are males, and dog owners are most attached, followed by cat owners and owners of other pets.

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This document was originally published by Human-Animal Interaction: Section 13 of Division 17 of the American Psychological Association in Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin. Copyright restrictions may apply.