The impact of pet loss on the perceived social support and psychological distress of hurricane survivors

Sarah R. Lowe, Jean E. Rhodes, Liza Zwiebach, Christian S. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Associations between pet loss and posthurricane perceived social support and psychological distress were explored. Participants (N = 365) were primarily low-income African American single mothers who were initially part of an educational intervention study. All participants were exposed to Hurricane Katrina, and 47% experienced Hurricane Rita. Three waves of survey data, two from before the hurricanes, were included. Sixty-three participants (17.3%) reported losing a pet due to the hurricanes and their aftermath. Pet loss significantly predicted postdisaster distress, above and beyond demographic variables, pre- and postdisaster perceived social support, predisaster distress, hurricane-related stressors, and human bereavement, an association that was stronger for younger participants. Pet loss was not a significant predictor of postdisaster perceived social support, but the impact of pet loss on perceived social support was significantly greater for participants with low levels of predisaster support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-247
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2009


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