There is a Significant Statistical Relationship Between Owning a Dog and Having a Higher Level of Conscientiousness.
Dog Ownership Could In Fact Prepare us for Parenthood
I analysed 4000 completed survey responses using chi-square and t-test to look for any significance in dependence between dog-ownership and personality and and significant difference in personality scores values between non-dog owners and dog owners.
What I found was that the personality trait of conscientiousness was dependent on dog-ownership with a p-value of almost zero. This means that I can be almost 100% sure the viewed dependence between the variables is not due to chance.
The difference of average Conscientiousness scores between non-dog owners and dog-owners was minimal, but had a p-value of almost zero and a 95% confidence interval with positive higher and lower quartiles signifying that dog-owners almost always has higher conscientiousness scores than non-dog owners.
Through my background research I had found a study in the journal Personality and the Individual that found a statistical relationship between conscientious parents and children with fewer externalizing behaviors. “Externalizing behaviors are negative behaviors that are directed toward the external environment.” – Yolanda Williams. The fact that dog ownership correlates with a parental personality trait that raises better behaved children points towards dog ownership preparing us to be better parents!
To be sure that the found relationship is causation and not correlation (that the dog ownership is in fact affecting the personality trait versus more people with the trait happening to have dogs) a longitudinal study is in order.
Thank you again to everyone who helped me with this study by sharing and/or taking my survey. I have the honor of representing my state at the 2015 International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with this research. I’m very excited both with the amazing statistical relationships this study revealed as well as the experiences I have been able to get sharing my research with judges at the regional and state fairs I have since participated in this year.
Thank you again!
Oliver, Pamella H., Diana Wright Guerin, and Jacqueline K. Coffman. “Big five parental personality traits, parenting behaviors, and adolescent behavior problems: A mediation model.” Personality and Individual Differences 47.6 (2009): 631-636.