Alexandra Horowitz


On February 1, 2023, senior research fellow and adjunct associate professor Alexandra Horowitz co-authored a new research paper by Dr. Kathryn Kerns, professor emeritus of psychology at Kent State University, in the scientific journal Social Development. The paper, “Assessing Children's Relationships with Pet Dogs: A Multi-Method Approach,” aims to develop and test multiple measures that could be used to assess both positive and negative aspects of children's relationships with their pet dogs. In a sample of 115 children, ages 9–14 years, who were pet dog owners, the researchers assessed six qualities of pet dog relationships: Affection, Nurturance of Pet, Emotional Support from Pet, Companionship, Friction with Pet, and Pets as Substitutes for People. All qualities were assessed with child questionnaires, parent questionnaires, and child daily reports of interactions with pets. Their findings suggested overlap for many of the positive qualities of children’s pet dog relationships, which tended to be distinct from negative relationship qualities. This innovative study provides new tools that could be used to test further how relationships with pets contribute to childhood development.