Date of Conferral







Barry Linden


Few studies have addressed human attachment to a pet bird and psychological well-being, and the research that has been conducted is largely anecdotal and anthropomorphic perspectives on human relationships with birds. In this quantitative study, the relationships between humans and their birds were explored using Bowlby's attachment theory and Fredrickson and Losada's broaden and build theory. The study consisted of a randomized experiment, in which individuals were randomly assigned to either an attachment (n = 81) or detachment (n = 88) group. The security priming manipulation was used to prime the groups. The attachment group was asked to list things that made them feel attached to their bird, and the detachment group was asked to list things that made them feel detached from their bird. The dependent variables evaluated included perceived meaning in life and loneliness. The Meaning in Life Questionnaire, the UCLA Loneliness Measure Version 3, and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale were used to assess the variables. Two multilinear regression equations were calculated to investigate if the manipulation predicted the dependent variables and the findings were not significant. More attachment was related to increased loneliness, which was an unexpected finding inconsistent with the hypotheses. The findings of this research may enhance positive social change by demonstrating that strong attachment to pet birds likely is not necessary for birds to provide companionship and for owners to connect with other bird owners. Healthcare providers and institutions may find that birds provide a soothing environment, group participation, and social engagement.