Human Love Styles and Attitudes Toward Pets

Michelle Guthrie, Philip Marshall, Susan Hendrick, Clyde Hendrick, Erin Logue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Pets have a positive influence on humans’ physical and psychological wellbeing, as well as their close relationships. In general, people who hold a positive view of people in turn hold a favorable view of pets. Despite this, previous studies on the relationship between love toward people and love toward pets were inconclusive. In this study, we take a fresh look at the nexus of the domains of love and pets by exploring whether people’s views of love with a romantic partner are associated with attitudes toward their pets. To answer this question, we administered scales to assess human love styles and attitudes toward pets. Participants completed measures on their attitudes toward romantic love, romantic relationship satisfaction, amount of social support, self-esteem, and attitudes toward pets. Human love styles assessed include Eros (passionate), Ludus (game-playing), Storge (friendship), Pragma (practical), Mania (obsessive), and Agape (selfless). Factor analyses of the pet attitudes measure revealed two factors—positive and negative attitudes toward pets. An erotic love style was linked to the endorsement of favorable pet attitudes, while a ludic love style was associated with the endorsement of unfavorable pet attitudes. Subsequent gender-specific correlations indicated that favorable pet attitudes were associated with high levels of social support for men, but low levels of support for women. Future research might address whether pets are instrumental in the development of love styles, whether love styles change after adoption of a pet, and if attitudes toward a romantic partner are similar to attitudes toward a particularly close companion animal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-60
Number of pages20
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018


  • attitudes toward pets
  • close relationships
  • human–animal interaction
  • love styles


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