PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Is the bond between a child and their pet greater than the bond between siblings?

According to ZME Science, a paper from the University of Cambridge says a growing body of literature shows that children gain more satisfaction from their relationships with their pets than with their brothers and sisters.

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According to the article, researchers say the close quality of this bond, as well as the availability of companionship and disclosure, could have a positive effect on children’s social skills and emotional health.

ZME Science says researchers surveyed 12-year-old children from 77 different families with more than one child who owned one or more pets of any type on the quality of their relationships.

The study found that while children reported strong ties to their siblings, they reported their relationships with their pets were just as strong.

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ZME Science says a surprising find was pets were rated on the same level of disclosure as siblings. Researchers say they think this because pets are completely non-judgmental. Their inability to speak may also help.

Results of the study showed that girls reported more disclosure, companionship, and conflict with their pet than boys.

Additionally, dog families reported lower overall levels of conflict and greater owner satisfaction compared to other kinds of pets.

Overall, researchers found children reported more satisfaction and less conflict with their pets than with their siblings.

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