Enriching Lives: How Spending Time with Pets is Related to the Experiential Well-Being of Older Americans

Charlene M. Kalenkoski, Thomas Korankye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study examines how caring for pets and walking, exercising, or playing with pets is associated with the experiential well-being of older Americans using activity-episode-level data from the 2010, 2012, and 2013 American Time Use Surveys (ATUS) and their associated Well-Being Modules (WBM). Estimating a series of ordered probit models that relate various measures of experiential well-being to different measures of pet-related activities, the results show that caring for pets is associated with greater meaning than other activities, controlling for a standard set of demographic and other person-level characteristics. Walking, exercising, or playing with household pets or animals is associated with greater happiness and meaning and less stress relative to other activities. The results from sensitivity analyses show that the magnitudes of the associations for people who live alone are larger than for those who live with others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-510
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Research in Quality of Life
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Americans
  • Experiential well-being
  • Older adults
  • Pet care
  • Time use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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