Pet ownership and physical health

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose of review. Pet ownership and brief human-animal interactions can serve as a form of social support and convey a host of beneficial psychological and physiological health benefits. This article critically examines recent relevant literature on the pet-health connection. Recent findings. Cross-sectional studies indicate correlations between pet ownership and numerous aspects of positive health outcomes, including improvements on cardiovascular measures and decreases in loneliness. Quasiexperimental studies and better controlled experimental studies corroborate these associations and suggest that owning and/or interacting with a pet may be causally related to some positive health outcomes. Summary. The value of pet ownership and animal-assisted therapy (AAT), as a nonpharmacological treatment modality, augmentation to traditional treatment, and healthy preventive behavior (in the case of pet ownership), is starting to be realized. However, more investigations that employ randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes and investigations that more closely examine the underlying mechanism of the pet-health effect, such as oxytocin, are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-392
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 24 2015

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Ownership
Pets
Health
Animal Assisted Therapy
Loneliness
Insurance Benefits
Oxytocin
Social Support
Sample Size
Randomized Controlled Trials
Cross-Sectional Studies
Psychology
Therapeutics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

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abstract = "Purpose of review. Pet ownership and brief human-animal interactions can serve as a form of social support and convey a host of beneficial psychological and physiological health benefits. This article critically examines recent relevant literature on the pet-health connection. Recent findings. Cross-sectional studies indicate correlations between pet ownership and numerous aspects of positive health outcomes, including improvements on cardiovascular measures and decreases in loneliness. Quasiexperimental studies and better controlled experimental studies corroborate these associations and suggest that owning and/or interacting with a pet may be causally related to some positive health outcomes. Summary. The value of pet ownership and animal-assisted therapy (AAT), as a nonpharmacological treatment modality, augmentation to traditional treatment, and healthy preventive behavior (in the case of pet ownership), is starting to be realized. However, more investigations that employ randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes and investigations that more closely examine the underlying mechanism of the pet-health effect, such as oxytocin, are needed.",
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Pet ownership and physical health. / Matchock, Robert.

In: Current Opinion in Psychiatry, Vol. 28, No. 5, 24.08.2015, p. 386-392.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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