Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Psychology: Clinical-Counseling Psychology
Well-being is a broad umbrella term that encompasses an individual’s appraisal of situations and events and their satisfaction with life (Diener, 1994). Research has shown that having a severe disability can negatively impact a person’s sense of well-being. Specifically, research has shown that individuals with visual impairments have a lower well-being because they feel like they are not as independent, they have many obstacles in their way, and they feel as if they are a bother to everyone around them (Lopez-Gusticia & Cordoba, 2008). To combat these obstacles, people with visual impairments opt to get a guide dog to help increase their confidence and autonomy. Research has shown that the guide dog can help increase confidence, socialization with the public, and an increase in responsibility for self and the guide dog (Minor 2001; Sanders, 2000). A reason for this phenomenon could be due to the human animal bond. The human Animal bond is a strong relationship that humans have with animals, pets, in where the pet provides comfort and support to the owner. The present study aimed to understand the bond between guide dog and handler by using the previous literature described in the paper. Several measures of well-being, autonomy, and pet attachment were used. The results showed that individuals who had both a guide dog and pet dog had the most benefits (e.g., were most satisfied with life). Additionally, results showed that having both a guide and pet dog meant that the person was simply very fond of dogs and animals. These results help support several hypotheses and begin to qualitatively present data towards the handler and guide dog bond.
Yarmolkevich, Nicole, "Bonds beyond Time: Are There Differences in Well-Being, Autonomy, and Bond between Visually Impaired Individuals with Guide Dogs versus Pet Dogs?" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 784.