Journal of Veterinary Medical Science
Online ISSN : 1347-7439
Print ISSN : 0916-7250
ISSN-L : 0916-7250
Public Health
Frequency of Neurotic Symptoms Shortly after the Death of a Pet
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2014 Volume 76 Issue 4 Pages 499-502


Some individuals manifest psychosomatic symptoms after the death of their pets. A survey was conducted at four public and commercial animal cremation service centers in Japan. In each center, a questionnaire was distributed to 100 individuals (400 in total). The questionnaire consisted of the 28-item version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ28), the social readjustment rating scale (SRRS) and a series of questions regarding demographic information and the circumstances of their pet’s death. In total, 82 returned questionnaires were available for analysis. GHQ28 proved the existence of neurotic symptoms in 46 responses (56.1%; 95% confidence interval: 44.7%–67.0%). Analysis of the responses using the GHQ28 subscales with a Likert scoring system demonstrated more somatic dysfunction in females (GHQ-A: P=0.04). Furthermore, significant correlations were identified among the following factors: owner’s age (GHQ-A: ρ=−0.60, P=0.01; GHQ-B: ρ=−0.29, P=0.01; GHQ-C: ρ=−0.32, P<0.01; GHQ-D: ρ=−0.42, P<0.01), SRRS score (GHQ-A: ρ=0.32, P<0.01; GHQ-B: ρ=0.25, P=0.02; GHQ-D: ρ=0.30, P=0.01) and animal’s age (GHQ-D: ρ=−0.26, P=0.02). The death of indoor pets caused deeper depression (GHQ-D: P=0.01) than that of outdoor or visiting pets. The results revealed neurotic symptoms in almost half of the pet owners shortly after their pet’s death.

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© 2014 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science

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