Article - post-print
This study uses mixed-methods data and a life-course perspective to explore the role of pets in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adults age 50 and over and addresses the following research questions: (1) How does having a pet relate to perceived social support and social network size? and (2) how do LGBT older adults describe the meaning of pets in their lives? The qualitative data (N = 59) were collected from face-to-face interviews, and the quantitative data (N = 2,560) were collected via surveys from a sample across the United States. Qualitative findings show that pets are characterized as kin and companions and provide support; we also explore why participants do not have pets. The quantitative findings show that LGBT older adults with a pet had higher perceived social support; those with a disability and limited social network size, who had a pet had significantly higher perceived social support than those without a pet.
Muraco A, Putney J, Shiu C, Fredriksen-Goldsen KI. Lifesaving in Every Way: The Role of Companion Animals in the Lives of Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Adults Age 50 and Over. Res Aging. 2018 Oct;40(9):859-882. doi: 10.1177/0164027517752149.