University at Albany University at Albany Headlines
Assistant Professor of Psychology Julia Hormes, left, and graduate student Sydney Heiss, both with their dogs, conducted research on the influence that childhood pets have on a person’s diet choices in adulthood.
ALBANY, N.Y. (April 12, 2018) – People who grow up with a greater variety of pets are significantly more likely to follow a vegetarian diet as adults, according to research by a professor-student team in the University at Albany psychology department.
Sydney Heiss, graduate student in the department of psychology, worked with assistant professor Julia Hormes to gain a better understanding of the factors that play a role in a person’s decision to refrain from animal products as adults.
The two recruited study participants from social media webpages focused on food in general, including those focused on vegetarianism and veganism, resulting in a pool of 325 participants with a mean age of 30 years.
Participants provided their demographic information and whether they followed any vegetarian diet, including “flexitarian” (mostly vegetarian, but sometimes eats meat), “semi-vegetarian” (eats some types of meat but refrains from others), “pescetarian” (eats fish, eggs and dairy but refrains from other meat products), “lacto-ovo-vegetarian” (eats eggs and dairy, but refrains from all animal flesh), “vegan” (no animal products whatsoever), and “raw vegan” (consumes exclusively uncooked non-animal products).
Heiss and Hormes then assessed the individual’s beliefs and attitudes regarding the use of animals in food, clothing and research and surveyed them on their ownership and relationship with any childhood pets. Participants were asked about the number and types of their childhood pets, how often they were responsible for their animal(s) care, how close they felt to the animal(s), etc.
After a statistical analyses of all responses, the duo found:
Those who owned pets in childhood were significantly more likely than those without pets to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet as an adult.
Those who owned …