Basic psychological need fulfillment in human-pet relationships and well-being

Yaniv Kanat-Maymon, Adee Antebi, Sigal Zilcha-Mano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000), fulfillment of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness within close relationships are essential for well-being. In the current research, we sought to further explore this association as regards human-pet relationships. Drawing on recent studies that have documented the benefits pet owners can derive from their relationship with a pet, we examined the extent to which perceived need support by a pet can facilitate well-being and allay psychological distress. Participants were 206 pet owners (dog or cat). Results of a SEM analysis indicated that perceived needs support by a pet significantly predicted higher well-being but did not predict level of psychological distress. These associations were found over and beyond needs support by a close human other. The implications of the uniqueness of human-pet relationships to well-being through the lens of SDT are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-73
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Basic psychological need theory
  • Human-pet relationship
  • Psychological distress
  • Self-determination theory
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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