Alexis Jennings | Perceptions of Grief Severity: How Outsiders’ Perceptions of Grieving Pets and Humans Differ

An individual grieving a pet has not always been perceived as being a valid experience if at all comparable to grieving humans. Previous survey data has focused on the experiences of pet and human grief separately. This experimental research design aimed to compare the perceptions of pet and human grief. To meet this goal, this study set up a between-subjects design in which participants randomly were assigned to read a vignette about an employee experiencing a pet or human death. Participants pretended to be a manager and approved the employee to take zero to fourteen days off work then reported their perceptions of the employee’s perceived stress, psychological stress, and bereavement severity. Participants also rated their own previous grief symptoms.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Katie M. Lawson

Department of Psychological Science