Article

Cardiovascular Reactivity and the Presence of Pets, Friends, and Spouses: The Truth About Cats and Dogs

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the presence of friends, spouses, and pets on cardiovascular reactivity to psychological and physical stress. Cardiovascular reactivity was examined among 240 married couples, half of whom owned a pet. Mental arithmetic and cold pressor were performed in one of four randomly assigned social support conditions: alone, with pet or friend (friend present for non-pet owners), with spouse, with spouse and pet/friend. Relative to people without pets, people with pets had significantly lower heart rate and blood pressure levels during a resting baseline, significantly smaller increases (ie, reactivity) from baseline levels during the mental arithmetic and cold pressor, and faster recovery. Among pet owners, the lowest reactivity and quickest recovery was observed in the pet-present conditions. People perceive pets as important, supportive parts of their lives, and significant cardiovascular and behavioral benefits are associated with those perceptions.

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... Extant social support studies suggest that the benefits of social support largely come from humans (Allen et al., 2001). Although some studies have suggested that cross-species social support offered by pets can have a positive influence in individuals (e.g., Allen et al., 2002), the empirical evidence is still insufficient in terms of how pets could buffer an individual's stressful life crisis and reduce their behavioral and psychological strain reactions. More importantly, prior research has called for studies investigating the role of attachment to pets (Lewis et al., 2009) as well as the importance of identifying how human-pet relationships help people reduce stress and minimize the risk of mental health problems (Wu et al., 2018) in a fine-grained way. ...
... Social support literature has suggested that positive affect and positive emotions may help employees react less to perceived stress (Allen et al., 2001;Cohen & Wills, 1985). Pets are always there when owners need to seek emotional support from them, especially in unpredictable external environments (Allen et al., 2002;Zilcha-mano et al., 2011). In other words, by offering attachment support, pets can be a type of safe haven for their owners (Meehan et al., 2017) especially when stress is high, thereby further reducing employees' behavioral and psychological strain reactions. ...
... In line with our hypotheses, pet attachment support buffers the positive relationship between job insecurity and the following strain reactions: alcohol use, marijuana use, emotional exhaustion, and depression. Previous research has found that pets can provide important support to their owners (e.g., Allen et al., 2002;Brooks et al., 2018;Wood et al., 2005), and we also find this to be the case in the context of COVID-19. Pet owners who were more attached to their pets did not report a significant increase in alcohol and marijuana use induced by job insecurity. ...
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Drawing on the transactional theory of stress, the current study investigates whether employee job insecurity triggers employee behavioral strain reactions (i.e., alcohol use, marijuana use, and cigarette use) and psychological strain reactions (i.e., emotional exhaustion and depression) through stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we integrate social support theory and expect the moderating role of pet attachment support in the above relationships. By collecting two-wave data from 187 employees with pets in the United States, we found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, stress mediated the relationships between job insecurity and predicted behavioral and psychological reactions. Moreover, pet attachment support buffered the relationships between stress and these behavioral and psychological strain reactions (all except cigarette use). Pet attachment support also alleviated the conditional indirect effects job insecurity had on the two types of strain reactions via stress. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of this study.
... This rapidly developing area of inquiry has highlighted the many physiological and psychological benefits of popular companion species such as dogs and cats (but see Herzog (2011) for a discussion of some negative findings). For instance, evidence suggests that quality of relationships with companion animals may rival the quality provided by human friendships, providing increased support and personal confidence (Allen et al., 2002;Zilcha-Mano et al., 2012). Indeed, pet ownership may even impact health and longevity, with pet owners discharged from a coronary care unit having been shown to have longer survival outcomes when compared with non-pet owners discharged from the same unit (Friedmann et al., 1980). ...
... While previous research has focused on various benefits provided by highly popular pets such as dogs and cats (Allen, 2003;Allen et al., 2002;Zasloff, 1996), the present study was designed to examine if other pet species, specifically birds, elicit similar benefits. It was hypothesized that a brief interaction with a caged bird would decrease physiological measures of blood pressure and heart rate, while simultaneously increasing positive affect. ...
... Additionally, consideration was not given to participants who may have had experience with birds from an agricultural educational standpointhowever, there was no reported mention of this in the current sample; future research may need to examine these differences. Like other HAI studies, it could be beneficial to examine the stress-buffering effects of birds following induced stress compared with everyday stress (Allen et al., 2002). Future HAI studies should investigate the potential role of human personality as a factor in why individuals decide to interact with animals and what effects such interactions have, given that previous literature has not thoroughly investigated these topics. ...
Article
Research interest in the benefits of human–animal interaction (HAI) has grown within the scientific community. One current limitation in the HAI literature however, is that the majority of research focuses on the beneficial effects of dogs and cats, paying less attention to other species commonly kept as pets, such as birds. In the present study, 88 participants were asked to read aloud to a live bird, a toy bird with sound and motion, a toy bird without sound and motion, or an empty cage (n = 22 for each group). Affect scores, heart rate and blood pressure were taken before and after the session and scores from a questionnaire regarding pet ownership and bird experience were collected. Results indicated that interactions with a live bird maintain positive affect while significantly decreasing negative affect. Overall, this study demonstrated a clear affective benefit to interactions with birds, but more research is warranted onto the effects of interaction with under-studied pet animals beyond dogs and cats.
... Other studies suggest favorable consequences from human-animal interaction (Allen, et al., 2002;Allen et al., 1991;McCabe et al., 2002;Motomura et al., 2004). It was also found that having a pet is associated with less chance of developing depression, a greater sense of comfort, safety, and enjoyment (Holbrook et al., 2001), and reduction of stress symptoms (Allen et al., 2002;Allen et al., 1991). ...
... Other studies suggest favorable consequences from human-animal interaction (Allen, et al., 2002;Allen et al., 1991;McCabe et al., 2002;Motomura et al., 2004). It was also found that having a pet is associated with less chance of developing depression, a greater sense of comfort, safety, and enjoyment (Holbrook et al., 2001), and reduction of stress symptoms (Allen et al., 2002;Allen et al., 1991). Scholars also observed better socialization of pet owners with severe mental disorders (McCabe et al., 2002, Motomura et al., 2004 and improved physical and psychological elderly quality of life (Enmarker et al., 2015;Friedmann, et al., 1980). ...
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The study compares personality factors, symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress between owners and non-pet owners. A total of 145 adults participated, between 18 and 78 years (M = 30.96, SD = 12.10). Participants were divided according to the type of pet they had: 1) dogs, 2) cats, 3) dogs and cats. The results suggest that people who do not have pets showed more anxiety symptoms than those who have pets. Dogs and cats owners showed higher scores of conscientiousness personality factor than participants who did not have any pets. The results reveal differences between animals owners and non-owners. There is a need for studies using mediating variables analyzes, as well as longitudinal research that can explore the feasible causal relationship between different characteristics of people who own pets and well-being.
... The improved health of pet owners was estimated to save the Australian government $3.86 billion annually on public health expenditure (Headey et al., 2002). Pets can improve cardiovascular health by lowering their owners' heart rate, blood pressure (Anderson et al., 1992, Allen et al., 2002, and other risk factors (e.g. cholesterol levels) for cardiovascular disease (Anderson et al., 1992). ...
... Studies have also shown that pets provide psychological and mental health benefits in relation to anxiety, depression (Wood et al., 2005), stress (Allen et al., 2002), loneliness (Banks and Banks, 2005), and bereavement (Bolin, 1987). Pet ownership is positively associated with companionship (Siegel, 1993), social contact and interaction (Wood et al., 2005), social support (Garrity and Stallones, 1998), emotional health (e.g. ...
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Ticks are vectors of pathogens affecting companion animals and can cause tick paralysis, anaemia, dermatitis, and secondary infections. In Australia, there is currently only one known tick-borne pathogen of companion animals. Babesia canis vogeli is transmitted by Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato (s.l.) (brown dog tick). This tick species is a potential vector of Babesia gibsoni and Anaplasma platys, which are putative tick-borne pathogens that require vector transmission studies. The lack of recognised tick-borne pathogens in Australia is likely due to the lack of research on pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and protozoa in Australian ticks. Twenty ixodid (hard tick) species have previously been recorded on dogs, cats, and horses in Australia, including Rhi. sanguineus s.l., Ixodes holocyclus (eastern paralysis tick), and Haemaphysalis longicornis (the common name in Australia is bush tick and the common name in Asia is Asian longhorned tick), which are known and putative vectors of tick-borne pathogens. Since there have been few tick surveys in Australia since the mid-twentieth century, a nationwide survey of ixodids (Acari: Ixodidae) was conducted to identify tick species that parasitise dogs, cats, and horses. Ticks were morphologically examined to determine species, instar, and sex, and the collection locations of the different tick species were mapped using QGIS software. The companion animal owners responded to questionnaires and descriptive statistics were summarised. A total of 4,765 ticks were identified from 7/8 states and territories in Australia. Overall, 220 larvae, 805 nymphs, 1,404 males, and 2,336 females of 11 tick species were identified from 837 companion animal hosts. One novel host record was obtained for Ixodes myrmecobii, which was found on Felis catus (domestic cat) in the town of Esperance, Western Australia. The most common tick species identified included Rhi. sanguineus s.l. on dogs (73%), I. holocyclus on cats (81%), and Haem. longicornis on horses (60%). However, some ticks that were excluded from the study in Chapter 2, Subsection 2.2, could not be identified based on morphology alone. Sanger sequencing of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (COI) was performed to confirm their species identity. The species identified included three Ixodes trichosuri nymphs, three Haemaphysalis sp. genotype 1 and one Haemaphysalis sp. genotype 2 (potentially novel species), and Haemaphysalis lagostrophi. Since little is known about bacteria and apicomplexan parasites in Australian ticks, genomic DNA was extracted from a subset of the ticks collected from dogs, cats, and horses (n = 711) for microbial identification. All 711 tick extracts were screened for apicomplexans at the 18S rRNA gene (18S) with conventional PCR (cnPCR) and Sanger sequencing, and n = 655 tick extracts were screened for bacteria with cnPCR and amplicon next-generation sequencing (NGS). For the amplicon NGS screening, the aim was to detect bacterial pathogens, tick-associated bacteria with unknown pathogenicity (including endosymbionts), and novel species. Therefore, the 16S rRNA gene (16S) was targeted with cnPCR for amplicon NGS. Hypervariable regions V1-2 of 16S were sequenced on the MiSeq (Illumina) platform. Reads were processed using USEARCH v10.0 and denoised into zero-radius operational taxonomic units (ZOTUs). Taxonomic assignments were made using the QIIME2 feature classifier and the Greengenes, RDP Classifier, and SILVA 16S databases, and taxonomic assignments were cross-checked against the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) non-redundant nucleotide (nr/nt) database with the BLAST® command line tool. Dominant and prevalent bacterial species included “Candidatus Midichloria spp.”, Coxiella massiliensis, Coxiella spp., and Rickettsia spp. Tick-associated and haemotropic pathogens included An. platys and “Ca. Mycoplasma haematoparvum” in Rhi. sanguineus s.l. (6.9% and 0.6% of n = 174, respectively), and Bartonella clarridgeiae and Coxiella burnetii in I. holocyclus (0.3% (1/334) for both pathogens). The prevalence of “Ca. Neoehrlichia australis” in I. holocyclus (8.4%, 28/334) was significantly higher than the prevalence of “Ca. Neoehrlichia arcana” in I. holocyclus (2.1%, 7/334) (2 = 13.3, p < 0.0005). The bacterial diversity metrics differed for tick species, ecoregions, instars, and host species, but there was a lack of statistical support for feeding status for most tick species. Inconsistencies in taxonomic assignments across Greengenes, RDP Classifier, and SILVA highlights the need for validation of taxa with more comprehensive databases such as NCBI nr/nt. Future studies on tick microbiomes that use amplicon NGS would benefit from curated and quality-checked custom-built databases. As Rickettsia species could only be identified to the genus level with 16S NGS, Rickettsia-specific NGS was used for rickettsial species identification. The citrate synthase gene (gltA) assay enabled the identification of “Ca. Rickettsia tasmanensis” in Ixodes tasmani, a co-infection of “Ca. Ri. tasmanensis” and “Ca. Rickettsia antechini” in I. tasmani, “Ca. Rickettsia jingxinensis” in Haemaphysalis spp., Rickettsia gravesii in Amblyomma triguttatum triguttatum and I. holocyclus, and four Amb. t. triguttatum were co-infected with novel Rickettsia genotypes that were most similar (97.9-99.1%) to Rickettsia raoultii and Ri. gravesii. Phylogenetic analysis of near-full length 16S of Francisella and Legionellales species obtained by Sanger sequencing of 16S confirmed that the ZOTUs identified with 16S NGS included a novel Coxiellaceae genus and species in I. tasmani, two novel Francisella species in Amb. t. triguttatum, and two novel Francisella genotypes in Haemaphysalis spp. For the Apicomplexa screening, the aim was to determine the identity and prevalence of these organisms in the 711 tick extracts from dogs, cats, and horses. The ticks were screened for apicomplexan parasites using cnPCR and Sanger sequencing. First, a short region of the 18S rRNA gene (18S) was targeted for more sensitive cnPCR screening, then a longer region (>1 kb) of 18S was sequenced for species confirmation. The tick-borne pathogen Bab. c. vogeli was identified in two Rhi. sanguineus s.l. from dogs in the Northern Territory and Queensland (QLD). Theileria orientalis genotype Ikeda was confirmed by sequencing the major piroplasm surface protein gene p32, and was detected in three Haem. longicornis from dogs in New South Wales. Eight novel piroplasm and Hepatozoon species were identified and described and named as follows: Babesia lohae n. sp., Babesia mackerrasorum n. sp., Hepatozoon banethi n. sp., Hepatozoon ewingi n. sp., Theileria apogeana n. sp., Theileria palmeri n. sp., Theileria paparinii n. sp., and Theileria worthingtonorum n. sp. Additionally, a novel cf. Sarcocystidae gen. sp. sequence was obtained from I. tasmani, but could not be confidently identified at the genus level. An exotic tick-borne pathogen, Hepatozoon canis, was identified in I. holocyclus from a dog in QLD. The dog was located, and a blood sample was collected for Hep. canis screening. Hepatozoon canis gamonts were identified by blood smear examination, 18S sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis, which confirmed that the dog was infected with the parasite. This is the first published report of Hep. canis in Australia.
... They also recover faster. 35 Similarly, participants in 2 unblinded controlled trials exhibited lower blood pressure and heart rate during acute anxiety attacks that occurred in the presence of an animal. 35,36 A retrospective chart survey exhibited a lower resting blood pressure in the presence of an animal. ...
... 35 Similarly, participants in 2 unblinded controlled trials exhibited lower blood pressure and heart rate during acute anxiety attacks that occurred in the presence of an animal. 35,36 A retrospective chart survey exhibited a lower resting blood pressure in the presence of an animal. 37 Additionally, a randomized controlled trial determined that spending only a short time with a therapy dog can reduce neurohormone levels, decrease anxiety, and improve hemodynamic measures in patients with advanced heart failure. ...
Article
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Critical illness has lasting consequences on the mind and the body. Acute sequelae include a decline in the cognitive function of the brain, known as delirium. Increased interest in improving outcomes for ICU survivors without an increased incidence of delirium has started an array of non-pharmacologic interventions in many countries. One such intervention is animal-assisted intervention (AAI). As the role of animals in human healing is being recognized, there is an increasing need for formal and professionally-directed therapies. There have been no reviews focusing exclusively on AAIs in critical care to alleviate delirium. This review aimed to identify the cause of delirium in the ICU and ascertain the effect of animal-human interaction on critically ill patients. There is emerging evidence that AAI improves the efficacy of critical care provided to the patients regarding primary symptomatology and secondary factors by improving engagement and retention.
... For example, are the benefits related to dog walking, tactile interactions, the routine of looking after the animal, or simply to the animal's presence? Similar questions are being increasingly asked, not only in studies of pet ownership [8][9][10][11][12][13], but also in experiments featuring human-animal interaction [14][15][16][17]. By addressing the specific activities/situations associated with pet ownership, we can begin to objectively address the psychological basis to any benefits. ...
... In the current study, the mere 'presence of the dog' led the rating scores for life satisfaction and positive affect of high arousal. The benefits of the dog's presence for humans is one area of humananimal interaction where the scientific results are fairly consistent: being associated not only with beneficial neurophysiological changes [16,51] but also with improvements in self-reported well-being [8,11,14,18,24,25]. By contrast, dog health problems (e.g., disease, injury) and behavioural problems, particularly dog aggression, were reported to worsen owners' hedonic well-being and life satisfaction. ...
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Cross-sectional comparisons of well-being between dog owners and non-owners commonly generate inconsistent results. Focusing on the uniqueness of the relationship might help address this issue and provide a stronger foundation for dog-related psychotherapeutic interventions. This study aims to evaluate the impact of dog-related activities (e.g., exercising the dog) on owner hedonic well-being, life satisfaction and eudaimonic well-being. It was also hypothesised that psychological closeness to the dog would affect these well-being outcomes. For this study, 1030 dog owners aged over 18 years old answered an online questionnaire about the impact of 15 groups of dog-related activities on their well-being. Ordinal regressions were used to estimate the mean response (and its uncertainty) for each outcome, while conditioning for psychological closeness to the dog and controlling for several key covariates. Tactile interactions and dog playing were significantly more beneficial than other activities for hedonic well-being, and dog training and dog presence for eudaimonic well-being. In contrast, dog health issues and behavioural problems were linked to decrements in these well-being outcomes. Higher psychological closeness to the dog predicted greater improvement in well-being in positive dog-related activities. Our quantitative study validates the general findings of previous qualitative work and lays the groundwork for future longitudinal studies.
... Physical or cognitive proximity with an animal acting as an attachment figure can provide comfort, reassurance and protection in times of distress, for example during stressful tasks (Allen et al., 2002;Odendaal & Meintjes, 2003;Zilcha-Mano et al., 2011). ...
... This paper was followed by numerous studies investigating the chances of survival of dog and cat owners after a CVD episode (Friedmann & Thomas, 1995;Levine et al., 2013;Mubanga et al., 2019) while other studies have focused on a preventive effect of pet ownership on the onset of CVD (reviewed in Schreiner, 2016). Finally, some studies have also associated pet ownership with lower risk factors of CVD such as lower blood pressure (Allen et al., 2001(Allen et al., , 2002. Benefits against other risk factors such as hyperlipidaemia and obesity have also been proposed with inconclusive results (see Levine et al., 2013 andSchreiner, 2016). ...
Thesis
Throughout most of our common history, companion animals have played an important role in the lives of humans. As humans and animals evolved, so did the human-animal relationship. Different theoretical frameworks have been used to explain the potential beneficial effects of the emotional aspect of the human-animal relationship that we know as the Human-Animal Bond. This thesis examines these benefits in two novel scenarios, focusing on people (and animals) having to deal with challenging circumstances. Both studies explore the HAB in specific situations and reflect on the meaning of that bond for the humans and animals involved.
... Their presence, as well as interactions with them, can increase humans' endogenous oxytocin concentrations [6,7] and reduce heart rate and blood pressure [8,9]. In addition, they can buffer physiological responses to psychological challenges [10,11]. Allowing pets into traditional office environments has been shown to lessen work-related stress and create a more relaxed workplace climate [12,13]. ...
... In addition, petting and talking to dogs can reduce heart rate and blood pressure [8], as can spending time in a room with one's pet cat [9]. Additionally, a dog's or cat's presence can attenuate cortisol levels and heart rate during psychological challenges [10,11]. ...
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In Spring of 2020, the novel coronavirus (SAR-CoV-2) prompted an unprecedented number of individuals across the United States to begin working from home. Prior research has identified both positive and negative impacts of teleworking on employee well-being, and this study built on that research to explore perceptions regarding how companion animals factor into the teleworking experience. Individuals who had experience working from home and from their employer’s office completed an online survey about those experiences. Participants reported spending more quality time with their companion animals and family members when they worked from home. Furthermore, when working from home, individuals with dogs were more likely than those without dogs to report they socialized with other people, got a healthy amount of physical activity, and took at least one 15-min walk during the workday. Some participants, particularly those in households containing both dogs and cats, indicated that their pets created distractions during the workday. Future studies can build on this research by investigating whether the findings persist once the novel coronavirus is no longer a threat, and by paying close attention to the characteristics of pets, owners, and household dynamics that may influence the effects of pet ownership on the teleworking experience.
... Based on the persuasive evidence that pet ownership is associated with better physical and mental health (Allen et al., 2002;Friedmann & Thomas, 1995;Freidmann & Tsai, 2006), as well as the broad appeal and low cost of such programs, many North American universities and colleges have begun to offer dog visitation programs to their students (Binfet et al., 2018;Crossman et al., 2015). These programs can be categorized as animal-assisted activities (AAAs), as AAAs are typically informal interactions that focus on relationships and do not require therapeutic goals or the presence of a therapist (Walsh, 2009). ...
... The benefits of exercise are well documented in the literature on mental health. Exercise is known to improve cerebral blood flow, sleep, mental alertness, self-esteem and energy, and prevent social withdrawal 22,23 . It may also provide a distraction from daily challenges. ...
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To assess the frequency of persisting symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection and assessment of the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on selected parameters of self-reported health status and well-being half a year after the disease. The study population consisted of 3 groups: post-COVID-19 group I—172 patients; group II—172 patients with chronic disease, who have not suffered from COVID-19; group III—81 patients from a population study cohort—Bialystok PLUS. A standardized interview questionnaire was used to collect data in the three groups using the CATI (computer assisted telephone interviewing) technique. Interviews were conducted between October 2020 and January 2021, thus during the second wave of the pandemic in Poland. The subjective state of health in comparison with the state of health before the COVID-19 pandemic deteriorated in COVID-19 convalescents. Patients, who suffered from symptomatic COVID-19 were more prone to nervousness, anxiousness, tension than patients with oligosymptomatic course of the disease. Moreover, anxiety, fear and irritability were more frequent in Group I and II in comparison to Group III, whereas Group I and II did not differ significantly. The decrease in physical activity observed in COVID-19 patients mirrored the changes in general population. The most frequent persistent symptoms after COVID-19 are: general malaise, cough, smell and taste disorder, dyspnea. COVID-19 convalescents who experienced symptomatic disease are more prone to development of nervousness, anxiousness, tension and anxiety than patients with oligosymptomatic course of the disease. Females and younger patients who suffered from COVID-19 are more prone to development of mental distress than healthy population. No significant differences between COVID-19 convalescents and healthy population was observed as far as the attitude towards physical activity is concerned.
... Attachment to companion animals (rather than mere ownership of them) is linked to better mental health (Garrity et al., 1989), as it for instance, aids in the regulation of emotions (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2012;Siegel, 1990). It has also been positively correlated with physical health, as it for instance, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and helps one to endure stress better (intriguingly, spouses can have the opposite effect) (Allen et al., 2002). Further, having companion animals teaches human beings how to nurture others (Kurdek, 2008), which again strengthens also human kinship and survival. ...
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Love of nonhuman animals and nature is often presumed to have positive moral implications: if we love elks or forests, we will also better appreciate their moral value and treat them with more respect and care. This paper investigates perhaps the most common variety of love – here termed “the biological definition of love” – as applied to other animals and nature. Introducing the notion of “the love paradox”, it suggests that biological love of other animals and nature can also have deeply negative and anthropocentric moral consequences, due to the self-directedness and biases inherent to it. The need for more other-directed definitions of love is underlined.
... Interaction with animals has been associated with improving short-term health benefits lasting for minutes or seconds (Wells, 2009). Improvement in human physiological parameters associated with reducing stress including cortisol, heart rate, blood pressure, and improvements in cardiovascular functioning have been reported from interactions with dogs (Allen, Blascovich, & Mendes, 2002;Cole, Gawlinski, Steers, & Kotlerman, 2007;El-Alayli, Lystad, Webb, Hollingsworth, & Ciolli, 2006;Lorenz, 1954;Polheber & Matchock, 2014; been used as an indicator of emotional state (Berntson et al., 1997;Bertsch, Hagemann, Naumann, Schächinger, & Schulz, 2012;Grossmann, Sahdra, & Ciarrochi, 2016;Sandercock, Bromley, & Brodie, 2005), mindfulness (Burg, Wolf, & Michalak, 2012;Henry & Crowley, 2015;Prazak et al., 2012), and emotional regulation (Segerstrom & Nes, 2007). HRV has the potential to be a noninvasive physiological measurement of stress levels (Taelman, Vandeput, Spaepen, & Van Huffel, 2009) and has been used for measuring stress responses as a result of therapeutic interventions (Bertsch et al., 2012). ...
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Influences from human-horse interactions form the basis of the emerging field of equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP). However, the psychophysiological effects of horses on humans in the EAP context have been under-investigated. This multiple single case design study examined the effects of short-term human-horse interactions on human heart rate variability (HRV). Nine adults with limited prior experience with horses participated in time-limited in vivo exposures to five different free-roaming horses in a yard. Results were mixed with HRV improving from a preexposure baseline in 40% and deteriorating in 23% of the 43 ten-minute horse-human interactions. In the remaining horse-human interactions, HRV was unchanged from baseline. Aggregated results showed an overall improvement in HRV across experimental phases despite considerable intrasubject and intersubject variability. These preliminary results suggest that interaction with the horses, as well as having a neutral effect, may have had either a stress-moderating effect or a stress-arousal effect on participants. This study validates findings from other studies that show a stress-moderating effect of animals in the therapeutic context and also supports findings showing human stress arousal when near horses. Findings indicate that stress arousal is an important variable that requires consideration in the EAP context. This study provides an early insight into the influences of human-horse interactions on the human autonomic nervous system, providing a foundation for further studies.
... Estes comportamentos não foram evidenciados pela maioria dos participantes da presente pesquisa, o que pode ser explicado pelo maior tempo de convívio dos tutores com o animal, tornando o ambiente mais harmonioso. O convívio entre os tutores e seus animais faz bem para ambas as partes, pois proporciona muitos benefícios, como a melhora do estado psicológico, alívio em situações de tensão, disponibilidade de afeto, companhia constante, amizade, maior contato físico, proteção e segurança (Allen et al., 2002). ...
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Percepção dos tutores sobre o comportamento de cães e gatos frente ao isolamento social devido à pandemia de COVID-19 Tutors' perception of the behavior of dogs and cats in the face of social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic Resumo O objetivo deste estudo foi verificar os impactos do isolamento devido à pandemia por COVID-19 sobre o comportamento de cães e gatos em Santarém, Pará, Brasil. A pesquisa foi desenvolvida por meio da aplicação de questionário padrão de caráter fechado. Foram consultadas 168 pessoas, de diferentes bairros do município. A maioria dos entrevistados afirmou que os animais tiveram mudanças em sua rotina (67,29%). Além disso, para grande parte dos tutores (59,53%), os animais apresentaram mudanças no comportamento após o início do isolamento social em decorrência da pandemia, principalmente relacionado à carência do animal com o tutor, sendo esta a mudança de comportamento mais observada (61,9%). Isso ocorre, possivelmente, devido ao maior contato entre humano-animal no período de isolamento. Conclui-se que a rotina dos cães e gatos em Santarém, Pará, sofreu mudanças, o que refletiu em mudanças de comportamento após o início do isolamento em decorrência da COVID-19. Palavras-chave: Animais de companhia. Bem-estar animal. Pandemia. Tutores. Abstract The objective of this study was to verify the impacts of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the behavior of dogs and cats in Santarém, Pará, Brazil. The
... This meant that DOs were willing to sacrifice their time and their own activity preferences to prioritize those of their pet. Dogs also provide consistent social support, an essential element of adoption and maintenance of PA [21,22]. Finally, dog-walking has the potential to advance a One Health agenda. ...
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Physical inactivity remains a global epidemic leading to an estimated 5 million preventable deaths per year. Although there exist numerous public-health campaigns aimed at increasing physical activity (PA), a potentially fruitful but underexplored avenue to promote both human and animal health is veterinary-prescribed PA programs. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility and acceptability of incorporating veterinary-prescribed PA programming into a diverse array of clinic settings. Participants (n = 722 veterinary-clinic staff (VS); n = 1028 dog owners (DOs)) completed an online survey assessing: (a) the perceived importance of PA for promoting health and preventing disease, (b) willingness to participate in a veterinary-prescribed PA program, and (c) potential benefits and barriers of such a program. Both groups of participants indicated that PA is important for both human and animal health (97% and 98% of VS and 92% and 93% of DOs said PA is very or extremely important for animal and human health, respectively). Additionally, most participants in both groups expressed an interest in participating in a veterinary-prescribed PA program in the future, with only 11% of DOs and 10% of VS saying they were not interested. Benefits and barriers of this type of intervention for both practitioners and patients were also identified. Incorporating veterinary-prescribed PA programming into veterinary clinics seems to be acceptable to both DOs and VS. Additionally, many VS believe such programming would be feasible at their clinics; thus, pursuing such programs appears to be a promising avenue for promoting human and animal health.
... Other studies documenting reduced cardiovascular reactivity in pet owners followed. Married couples owning dogs or cats had lower baseline diastolic and systolic blood pressure than couples without pets and showed lower reactivity and faster recovery to mental and physical stressors (5). Lower cardiovascular reactivity to mental stress was also found in adults with borderline hypertension randomly assigned to obtain a cat or dog and start ACE inhibitor therapy compared with those on angiotensinconverting enzyme inhibitor therapy only (6). ...
Article
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Canine-assisted interventions (CAI) are becoming more popular in hospital settings, representing a crucial intersection between animals, veterinary medicine, and society. However, standardized policies and procedures to minimize risk and maximize benefit to vulnerable humans and protect therapy dog welfare are lacking, posing a challenge to safe practice. Few intervention programs are evaluated to document efficacy compounding the potential risk. This paper presents a rationale for CAI in hospitals and describes the evidence, issues, and challenges to establishing and maintaining safe and effective programs for humans and animals. Recommendations are made for best practices based on the existing scientific evidence and a model program in place in a major medical center for 19 years. Scientific and practical implications are considered.
... Based on the persuasive evidence that pet ownership is associated with better physical and mental health (Allen et al., 2002;Friedmann & Thomas, 1995;Freidmann & Tsai, 2006), as well as the broad appeal and low cost of such programs, many North American universities and colleges have begun to offer dog visitation programs to their students (Binfet et al., 2018;Crossman et al., 2015). These programs can be categorized as animal-assisted activities (AAAs), as AAAs are typically informal interactions that focus on relationships and do not require therapeutic goals or the presence of a therapist (Walsh, 2009). ...
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Post-secondary institutions across North America have adopted animal-assisted activities as a way to promote better mental health in their students. The current research study of 242 Canadian college and university students sought to contribute to our collective understanding of the aspects of the programs and characteristics of students that are related to promotion of better mental health in post-secondary students including decreased stress, and increased happiness and well-being. Results of a repeated measures design showed that students demonstrated greater positive effects on stress, happiness, and well-being when they touched dogs as compared to when they observed them. Furthermore, positive mental health outcomes were correlated with greater durations of contact as well as with higher levels of animal affiliation in students. Implications for post-secondary institutions are discussed.
... Interestingly, McConnell and colleagues (2011; study 3) demonstrated in their study that even the reflection on one's companion animal reduces uncomfortable feelings of social rejection, and is as effective as thinking of one's best friend. In addition, it has been shown that the presence of a companion animal moderates the physiological response to acute stressors, including heartrate, blood pressure, and skin conductance (Allen 2002;Allen et al. 1991). Polheber and Matchock (2014) further examined salivary cortisol responses to socially evaluative situations induced with the Trier Social Stress test (TSST). ...
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According to WHO, violence against women tend to increase during any type of emergency, such as the COVID19 outbreak, impacting not just women but also children and their families health . Although data on family violence during crisis is scarce, existing reports from China, UK and USA already suggest an increase of intimate partner violence. As social distancing measures are taken and people forced or encourage to stay at home, we could expect that the increase of tension at many homes will unfortunately end up in new cases of family violence or exacerbations of existing ones. Such context of an overloaded health system facing the crisis may imply in extra challenges for victims to seek help. This article aims to summarize the existing evidence regarding family violence during crisis and the resources available that can help to mitigate the impact of violence.
... Interestingly, McConnell and colleagues (2011; study 3) demonstrated in their study that even the reflection on one's companion animal reduces uncomfortable feelings of social rejection, and is as effective as thinking of one's best friend. In addition, it has been shown that the presence of a companion animal moderates the physiological response to acute stressors, including heartrate, blood pressure, and skin conductance (Allen 2002;Allen et al. 1991). Polheber and Matchock (2014) further examined salivary cortisol responses to socially evaluative situations induced with the Trier Social Stress test (TSST). ...
Chapter
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The Sars-CoV-2 pandemic puts an extreme strain on health care professionals, who are at a high risk of psychological distress and other mental health problems. Contributing factors include facing uncertainty, the often unbearable workload, shortages in personal protective equipment and treatments, an overwhelming flow of information, and changes in habitual roles and tasks. Existing studies show that in similar situations, they also experience stigmatization, as well as fear of infection for themselves and their families. This article summarizes the existing research on the mental health issues in health care professionals in this context, including risk factors, and interventions that can be implemented to promote mental well-being in front line professionals.
... Although free-roaming dogs can exert a suite of adverse effects on people and wildlife, companion animal dogs have been shown to enhance human mental, emotional, and physical health (Wells 2007;Dotson and Hyatt 2008;Stanley 2009;Hodgson and Darling 2011;McCardle et al. 2011;Beetz et al. 2012;Takashima and Day 2014;Casciotti and Zuckerman 2016; but see Herzog 2011Herzog , 2020Rodriguez et al. 2020). To name a few of the myriad benefits of the so-called "pet effect," dog owners and people with frequent canine contact have lower stress levels (Nagengast et al. 1997;Aydin et al. 2012;Barker et al. 2012;Tournier et al. 2017), reduced risk of heart disease (Allen et al. 2002;Levine et al. 2013;Schreiner 2016), lower blood pressure (Allen et al. 2001;Wright et al. 2007) and cholesterol levels (Hodgson et al. 2015), strengthened immune systems (Gern et al. 2004;Wegienka et al. 2011;Schreiner 2016), make fewer annual doctor visits (Headey and Grabka 2007), take fewer sick days off from work (Headey et al. 2008), enjoy improved workplace wellness and productivity (Wells and Perrine 2001;Wilkin et al. 2016), experience improved social connections (McNicholas and Collis 2000; Wood et al. 2015) and support (McConnell et al. 2011;Brooks et al. 2016Brooks et al. , 2018, and decreased levels of loneliness (Antonacopoulos 2017) and depression (Crowley-Robinson et al. 1996;Clark Cline 2010). One study conservatively estimated the annual American healthcare cost savings associated with pet ownership (i.e., quantified as fewer medical office visits by pet owners and reduced incidence of obesity among dog owners who frequently walk their pets) at over $11.7 billion (Clower and Neaves 2015). ...
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Synopsis Dogs (Canis familiaris) were the first domesticated species and, at an estimated population of 1 billion individuals, are globally ubiquitous today. Describing the tremendous morphometric diversity and evolutionary origins of dogs is a scientific endeavor that predates Darwin, yet our interdisciplinary understanding of the species is just beginning. Here, I present global trends in dog abundance, activity, and health. While the human–dog relationship has for millennia been close, it is also complicated. As pets, companion dogs are often treated as family members and constitute the largest sector of the ever-growing >$200 billion USD global pet care industry. As pests, free-roaming dogs are an emerging threat to native species via both predation and nonconsumptive effects (e.g., disturbance, competition for resources, and hybridization). Furthermore, I briefly discuss mounting evidence of dogs as not only infectious disease reservoirs but also as bridges for the transmission of pathogens between wild animals and humans in zoonotic spillover events, triggering intensive dog population management strategies such as culling. Dog mobility across the urban-wildland interface is an important driver for this and other adverse effects of canines on wildlife populations and is an active topic of disease ecologists and conservation biologists. Other canine scientists, including veterinary clinicians and physiologists, study more mechanistic aspects of dog mobility: the comparative kinetics, kinematics, and energetics of dog locomotor health. I outline the prevalent methodological approaches and breed-specific findings within dog activity and health research, then conclude by recognizing promising technologies that are bridging disciplinary gaps in canine science.
... 47 Studies on animal contact have also reinforced the positive impacts on mood and physiological responses such as reductions in cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate. [48][49][50] Indeed, pets may have also provided a welcome distraction and companionship during the pandemic, even though loneliness was not lower in pet owners. ...
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Objectives The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to daily life. This study investigated depression, anxiety and stress in New Zealand (NZ) during the first 10 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated psychological and behavioural factors. It also compares the results with a similar cross-sectional study in the UK. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting NZ community cohort. Participants N=681 adults (≥18 years) in NZ. The cohort was predominantly female (89%) with a mean age of 42 years (range 18–87). Most (74%) identified as NZ European and almost half (46%) were keyworkers. Most were non-smokers (95%) and 20% identified themselves as having clinical risk factors which would put them at increased or greatest risk of COVID-19. Main outcome measures Depression, anxiety, stress, positive mood and engagement in health behaviours (smoking, exercise, alcohol consumption). Results Depression and anxiety significantly exceeded population norms (p<0.0001). Being younger (p<0.0001) and most at risk of COVID-19 (p<0.05) were associated with greater depression, anxiety and stress. Greater positive mood, lower loneliness and greater exercise were protective factors for all outcomes (p<0.0001). Smoking (p=0.037) and alcohol consumption (p<0.05) were associated with increased anxiety. Pet ownership was associated with lower depression (p=0.006) and anxiety (p=0.008). When adjusting for age and gender differences, anxiety (p = 0.002) and stress (p = 0.007) were significantly lower in NZ than in the UK. The NZ sample reported lower perceived risk (p<0.0001) and worry about COVID-19 (p<0.0001) than the UK sample. Conclusions The NZ population had higher depression and anxiety compared with population norms. Younger people and those most at risk of COVID-19 reported poorer mental health. Interventions should promote frequent exercise, and reduce loneliness and unhealthy behaviours.
... Many studies have thus shown that a 10-min interaction with a dog significantly reduces cortisol levels in individuals (Handlin et al., 2011;Pendry & Vandagriff, 2019;Viau et al., 2010). The same effects were observed in dog owners (Allen et al., 2002), where the cortisol levels of these subjects are associated with the way the owners interact with their dogs and also with behaviors caused by the interaction (Petersson et al., 2017). ...
Article
This paper examines how dogs can modulate the effects of emotion on time perception. To this end, participants performed a temporal bisection task with stimulus durations presented in the form of neutral or emotional facial expressions (angry, sad, and happy faces). In the first experiment, dog owners were compared with nondog owners, while in the second experiment, students were randomly assigned to one of the three waiting groups (waiting alone, with another person, or with a dog) before being confronted with the temporal bisection task. The results showed that dogs allowed the participants to regulate the intensity of negative emotional effects, while no statistical differences emerged for the happy facial expressions. In certain circumstances, dogs could even lead the subjects to generate underestimation of time when faced with negative facial expressions.
... Another case study showed that people recovered more quickly in the presence of animals after heart attacks (Borchard, 2013). Other investigations have observed a reduction in symptoms associated with depression and stress (e.g., Allen et al., 2002;Cline, 2010;Miller et al., 2009), greater well-being and better self-esteem (McConnell et al., 2011). Headey (1999) found that dog and cat owners went to the doctor less often and were less likely to take sleeping medication than people without animals. ...
Article
Several studies have shown the positive effects of the presence of animals on humans at work, especially pets. It is increasingly common to find workplaces all over the world that provide this benefit, allowing employees to work with their pet beside them. These workplaces are called “pet friendly.” These practices, in addition to the direct effects on employees, affect the company’s image, showing positive effects in reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity. It is also expected that they impact the company’s perception of social responsibility, and that this influences the attitudes of its employees. In view of this growing reality and its possible impact with regard to organizational behavior, this study aims to observe the effect that the presence of pets in the workplace has on the perception of the social responsibility of organizations and on the organizational commitment (OC) of employees. To this end, 177 participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions according to a unifactorial design. All participants received a descriptive scenario of practices adopted by an organization to improve employee performance and business success. The scenario varied according to the inclusion of animals versus noninclusion. The results show the positive effect of the presence of animals both in the perception of social responsibility and in employees’ OC. This study leads us to conclude that animals are important in people’s lives and as such have a positive impact on organizational life.
... Furthermore, medication use for heart diseases or sleeping difficulties and numbers of doctor visits appear to be significantly lower among older pet owners than older adults without a pet (Headey 1999). Interactions with pets may reduce blood pressure as touching pets can have a calming effect (Allen 2002;Friedmann et al. 1980). Compared to non-pet owners, the risk of cardiovascular diseases appears significantly lower among pet owners as they often have more active lifestyles and experience less stress, better social integration, and higher levels of well-being (Chowdhury et al. 2017). ...
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While interactions with pets may yield significant emotional, social, and physical benefits, taking care of them can also be demanding and experienced as a burden, especially among persons with physical restrictions or economically disadvantaged individuals. This study investigates pet ownership and corresponding perceptions and experiences in a nationally representative sample of adults aged 55 years and older in Switzerland. We use data from a questionnaire on human-animal interactions from 1832 respondents administered during wave 7 (2017) in the Swiss country study of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe. Multivariable associations between pet ownership and pet owners’ corresponding perceptions and experiences with respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics were estimated using probit and ordered probit models. Slightly more than one-third of adults aged 55 years and older reported owning a pet. Pet owners reported mostly positive experiences with pet ownership, with women showing higher pet bonding levels than men. Moreover, pet ownership was less common among adults aged 75 and older and individuals living in apartments. At the same time, older pet owners aged 75 and above, pet owners living in apartments, and pet owners without a partner reported more positive perceptions and experiences of owning a pet. These findings suggest that promoting pet ownership may help individual well-being and feelings of companionship, especially among women, older adults, and individuals without a partner but also points toward potential selection effects into pet ownership. Financial costs of pet ownership appear to be an important challenge for some older pet owners, notably those with relatively low levels of education and more limited financial resources.
... Prior to COVID-19, research highlighted how animals may reduce stress [59], help support people with chronic mental health difficulties [60], increase positive emotions [61], and reduce loneliness [62,63]. In the current study, we found that for many companion animal guardians, companion animals played a critical role in helping reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, isolation, and loneliness. ...
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The initial months of COVID-19 forced people to quickly adapt to dramatic changes to their daily lives. As a result of the inevitable decrease in access to social support available during the lockdown phase of COVID-19, countless individuals relied upon their companion dogs and cats. Given the strong connections people often have with their companion animals, this study hypothesized that companion dogs and cats would positively impact guardians’ mental health. Anonymous, cross-sectional online surveys were used to test this premise. A total of 5061 responses, primarily females (89%) from the United States (84%), were analyzed. Results suggest that companion animals played a critical role in helping reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, isolation, and loneliness for a majority of pet guardians. Companion animals also helped increase guardians’ experiences of self-compassion, ability to maintain a regular schedule, feel a sense of purpose and meaning, and cope with uncertainty. This was most pronounced for women under the age of 40 who were highly bonded to their companion animal. In conclusion, our study suggests that a companion dog or cat can buffer the effects of extreme stress and social isolation as witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
... This finding is supported by studies on human caregivers in which closer relationships were reported to be associated with lower caregiver burden. [36][37][38] Owners who experience a close relationship with their cat may benefit from more psychological benefits of pet companionship 39,40 and may suffer less from resentment directed towards their cat as they are more motivated to provide quality care for an animal they care about deeply. ...
Article
Background: Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition reported in cats. Characterised by recurrent seizures, treatment involves the administration of anti-epileptic drugs up to multiple times a day. Epilepsy and its associated treatments may impact both cats and their owners. The present study aimed to assess factors associated with quality of life (QOL) in cats with epilepsy and the burden of care in their owners. Methods: An online survey was developed using demographic information and the following validated measures: cat QOL, Zarit burden interview (ZBI) and the cat owner relationship scale (CORS). Regression analysis was conducted using SPSS 26. Results: Responses were completed by 141 owners from 22 countries. QOL was significantly higher in cats with controlled seizures, no adverse effects from medication and epilepsy onset before 5 years of age. ZBI was significantly lower in owners who felt supported by their veterinarian, who were over 55 and had cats with controlled seizures. Higher CORS was significantly correlated with both higher cat QOL and lower owner ZBI. Conclusions: Adequate seizure control and close cat-owner relationships may play an important role in mitigating the impact of epilepsy on cats and their owners. Further research into understanding cat-owner relationships and successfully controlling epilepsy in cats is needed.
... A number of undeniable advantages are inherent in small animals: they improve our mood, reduce emotional and physical stress, help their owners cope with depression, create a feeling of exaltation, as well as a warm and cozy atmosphere in the hearth. In addition, dogs and cats contribute to the psychological development of children with autism, cerebral palsy, and developmental delays and improve the quality of life for lonely, elderly people and patients with cardiovascular pathologies [8][9][10][11]. However, despite the rapid development of veterinary medicine, many issues of diseases in small domestic animals, which are caused by associations of opportunistic and saprophytic microbiota, as well as the improvement of diagnostic approaches, prevention, and therapy, remain poorly understood [12][13][14][15][16]. ...
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Recent studies have shown that the gut microbiota plays an important role in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal diseases in various animal species. There are only limited data on the microbiome in cats with varying grades of dysbiosis. The purpose of the study was a detailed analysis of the quantitative and qualitative fecal microbiota spectrum in cats with intestinal dysbiosis of varying severity. The data obtained indicate that, depending on the dysbiosis severity in cats, the intestinal microbiome landscape changes significantly. It has been established that, depending on the dysbiosis severity, there is a shift in the balance between the Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial pools and in the nature of the isolation of specific bacteria forms, in the amount of obligate microbiota isolation, as well as individual facultative strains. When analyzing the serotyping of E. coli cultures isolated at various grades of intestinal dysbiosis severity, differences were found both in the isolation amount of various serotypes from one animal and in the prevalence of certain serotypes for each disease severity. A retrospective analysis of the fecal microbiota sensitivity in cats with dysbiosis to antibacterial drugs showed that, depending on the disease severity, the number of isolates sensitive to antibiotics increases significantly.
... Over the past 20 years, several studies have been conducted to measure the therapeutic value aspects of being with animals and human-animal interactions (HAIs). In a previous study, it was found that, compared with those without companion animals, the heart rate and blood pressure levels of people with companion animals were significantly lower, they showed less stress response even in stressful situations, and a faster recovery was observed [2]. This revealed that people perceive companion animals as an important part of their lives, and significant cardiovascular and behavioral benefits are associated with this perception. ...
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Human–animal interaction (HAI) has been observed to effectively reduce stress and induce positive emotions owing to the process of directly petting and interacting with animals. Interaction with virtual animals has recently emerged as an alternative due to the limitations in general physical interactions, both due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, more generally, due to the difficulties involved in providing adequate care for animals. This study proposes mixed reality (MR)-based human–animal interaction content along with presenting the experimental verification of its effect on the reduction of mental stress. A mental arithmetic task was employed to induce acute mental stress, which was followed by either MR content, in which a participant interacted with virtual animals via gestures and voice commands, or a slide show of animal images. During the experiment, an electrocardiogram (ECG) was continuously recorded with a patch-type, wireless ECG sensor on the chest of the subject, and their psychological state was evaluated with the help of questionnaires after each task. The findings of the study demonstrate that the MR-based interaction with virtual animals significantly reduces mental stress and induces positive emotions. We expect that this study could provide a basis for the widespread use of MR-based content in the field of mental health.
... The human-animal bond is defined as 'a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and other animals' [30]. While many studies showed the beneficial effects of cats on their owners [31][32][33][34][35][36][37], the effect of owners on their cats has received less attention. If an owner's anthropomorphic relationship perception is related to social expectations of the cat, this could influence the owner's behavior towards the cat and its living environment. ...
Article
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Describing the relationship with one’s cat in human terms might reflect an underlying anthropomorphic view of the relationship which might be associated with an owner’s behavior towards their cat and the cat’s living environment. Owners self-categorized the relationship with their cat as either a ‘member of the family’, ‘as a child’, ‘best friend’, or ‘a pet animal’. The extent to which owner- and cat-related factors influence these four relationship descriptions are examined in survey data of approximately 1800 cat owners. Differences in outdoor access, care during absence of the owner, and access to the bedroom are examined between the four relationship perceptions. The owner’s age and household composition, ideas about their cat’s equality, support, and dependency, and whether their cat is a pedigree were significantly associated with relationship description and explained 46% of the variance. Owners who perceive their cat as a child or best friend see their cat as loyal, empathetic, equal to family, and dependent on them for love and care. Their cats are less often left in the care of others, are allowed more often in the bedroom and have less often (unrestricted) outdoor access. Moreover, cats perceived as children are more likely to live in a multi-cat household. Our results provide insight in the factors that are related to different (anthropomorphic) perceptions of the human–cat relationship and how perceptions relate to the living environment of cats.
... There is some evidence that pet ownership can benefit health and wellbeing across a variety of conditions [9,10], increasing life satisfaction, engendering a sense of responsibility and routine, and providing unconditional love, companionship, social interaction, and physical contact [11][12][13]. Individuals with chronic physical and/or mental health conditions often report that their pets improve their quality of life and help with symptom management [14,15]. ...
Article
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Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with lower quality of life, reduced social participation, and decreased self-efficacy. The COVID-19 pandemic has had documented effects on the health and wellbeing of people with and without MS. Previous research has demonstrated the positive impact pets can have for people living with long-term conditions. Objectives: To explore the rates of pet ownership and pet attachment in people living with MS and pet ownership associations with quality of life, satisfaction with social roles, and self-efficacy scores; and to explore the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on people’s perceived relationships with their pets. Materials and Methods: A postal questionnaire was distributed to members of a local MS Register and a control group of people without MS. The questionnaire assessed quality of life, satisfaction with social roles, self-efficacy, the perceived roles of pets, and pet-related concerns experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: No apparent difference in attachment to pets was found between the patient and control groups. Pet ownership and level of attachment were not associated with differences in quality of life or self-efficacy scores in people living with MS. Using multiple regression analysis, pet ownership was associated with a decrease in satisfaction with participation in social roles, but with the estimated effect being small compared to having a diagnosis of MS or being unemployed. Most participants reported that pets had positive roles during the pandemic, and the most reported pet-related concern was access to veterinary treatment. Conclusion: Pet owners both with and without MS reported subjective benefits to their wellbeing from pet ownership during COVID-19, although analysis suggested that pet ownership was associated with a reduction in satisfaction with social roles. The study had several limitations and suggestions are made for future work.
... Studies have shown that there are several benefits of keeping pets including emotional support, reduced loneliness, reduced stress levels, and increased social activities (K. Allen et al., 2002). Some studies have even argued that individuals that own pets get more exercise, have a healthier heart (K. ...
... Segundo Allen et al. (2002), a posse de animais de estimação está associada à redução de alguns fatores de risco cardiovascular como a pressão arterial e os níveis de triglicerídeos (COSTA, 2009 Conclui-se que ao longo dos anos de visitas ao LVAS ocorreram vários avanços na qualidade de vida dos internos. Durante o ano de 2014 puderam ser observados sinais evidentes de redução da ansiedade, da solidão e da inibição, com melhora das relações interpessoais entre os internos e destes com os funcionários, além do aumento do desejo de lutar pela vida. ...
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Relata-se a experiência do projeto Cão-Cidadão-Unesp demonstrando os benefícios alcançados por meio da Terapia Assistida por Animais (TAA) em idosos institucionalizados na cidade de cidade de Araçatuba, São Paulo. O projeto atua em tal instituição há oito anos e o presente relato refere-se às observações realizadas durante o ano de 2014. Pode-se perceber que a presença dos cães contribuiu para uma maior qualidade de vida dos idosos.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.35700/ca.2016.ano3n4.p128-131.1821
... Cats have long been embedded in human societies and are highly valued by their human owners (Crowley, Cecchetti, & McDonald, 2020b). Cats, like some other companion animals, are recognized as playing an important social role in their owners' lives, acting like a family member or friend in reducing feelings of loneliness, resulting in improvements to well-being and quality of life (Allen, Blascovich, & Mendes, 2002;Castelli, Hart, & Zasloff, 2001). As such, arguments about cat containment are seen as controversial, and cat owners' perceptions of the impacts of cats on wildlife may be further obfuscated by the spread of conflicting information shared by cat advocates and conservationists (Loss & Marra, 2018). ...
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Free‐roaming domestic cats pose risks to wildlife, domestic animals, humans, and importantly, the cats themselves. Behavior change campaigns that seek to minimize these risks by increasing cat containment require an understanding of the factors that predict cat owners' containment behaviors. We conducted an online survey in Victoria, Australia (N = 1,024) to identify cat owners' (N = 220) behaviors in containing their cats, explore beliefs and attitudes that predict containment behavior, and compare attitudes about cat containment with respondents that do not own cats (N = 804). We found that 53% of cat owning respondents do not allow any roaming. These respondents were more likely to hold concerns about risks to cats' safety while roaming and less likely to perceive that cats have a right to roam. Concern about impacts to wildlife was not a significant predictor of containment behavior. Expectations that cat owners should manage cats' roaming behavior was a social norm among cat owners and other respondents, and cat containers were more likely to indicate that they would try to change behaviors of their peers that they perceived to be harmful to the environment. Cat containment campaigns could be improved by appealing to owners' concerns about cat well‐being, engaging respected messengers that align with these concerns, including owners who already contain their cats.
... Numerous experimental studies show a reduction in stress biomarkers or anxiety when a friendly dog is present [27,34], and may reduce stress responses even more than the presence of other supportive people [35]. In studies of young adults and children, stress responses have been shown to decline when a companion animal is present [36][37][38][39]. ...
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Pet ownership can provide important companionship and facilitate social connections, which may be particularly important to socially isolated older adults. Given the significant deleterious impact of loneliness on health and wellbeing in later life, many predicted that public safety measures imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic would greatly increase loneliness, particularly among vulnerable populations like older adults. We investigated whether dog walking buffers loneliness in the context of stressors imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Longitudinal survey data were obtained from a Florida community-based sample of adults (n = 466) aged 60+ years old in September 2018 and October 2020. Using OLS regression models, we tested: (a) the association between the social consequences of COVID-19 and changes in loneliness, and (b) the buffering effect of dog walking on this relationship. The high social consequences of COVID-19 were related to increases in loneliness. Walking a dog daily buffered the relationship. These results suggest potential therapeutic effects of dog walking for the promotion of mental health in older adults, particularly in the context of stressful situations that accentuate risks for loneliness.
... It has been proposed that dogs influence mental well-being by modulating the human physiological response to stress, specifically via attenuation of the hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal (HPA) axis and heart rate response to stressors [8,9]. Living with a dog may be associated with improved well-being for people with chronic pain [10]. ...
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The SARS-CoV2 pandemic forced an abrupt interruption of social contacts and interpersonal affective relationships all over the world, according to national directives. Many considerable inconveniences occurred with important repercussions also on the emotional state of people and their pets. We carried out a national survey to evaluate the human-dog relationship in a social isolation context using an adapted version of Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale, the perception of the dogs’ discomfort by their human owners, and the resilience of the dog through the quantification of symptoms, in time of the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results highlighted that the human-dog interaction was similar during quarantine; however, there was lower owner’s perception of a dog’s cost during the quarantine than before it.
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Learners with autism are affected by different challenges during learning. There is a growing focus on education to facilitate learners to become more self-resilient by involving animals in learning spaces. This qualitative study explored the impact of animal involvement on the learning experiences of learners with autism. Twenty diaries, 32 questionnaires, and 40 guided narratives and pictorial voices were used to collect data. The study found that learners demonstrated improved communication, imagination, empathy, motivation, calculation skills, responsibility, and well-being while interacting with animals. The study concluded that involving animals in the learning spaces has significant positive impact on learners. Keywords special needs, learners, young people, animals, learning space
Article
The objective of this study was to evaluate the empathy of humans with animals (human-animal empathy) and humans with humans (human-human empathy, in a sample of individuals who have adopted a dog or a cat and a sample of individuals who have relinquished a dog or a cat in Portugal. A sample of 1,047 individuals completed an online questionnaire on pet adoption and relinquishment, which also included a section measuring their human-human empathy and human-animal empathy. We used the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) translated to Portuguese and the Animal Empathy Scale (AES) modified for the Portuguese population to analyze, respectively, the human-human empathy and with human-animal empathy. This article intends to go deeper into the subject, analyzing those indexes for a sample of the Portuguese population that have adopted or relinquished a companion animal. We found high levels of human-animal empathy in our sample, with no significant differences between adopters and relinquishers of dogs or cats. We found a significant link between human–human empathy and human-animal empathy, and very high scores in the AES in both adopters and relinquishers. The results suggest that empathy levels themselves, specifically a lack of or low levels of empathy, are not the key driver of animal relinquishment.
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This study provides some clarification and extends literature by investigating the effects of the use of social networking sites by organizational employees on job satisfaction, organizational commitment and employee job performance. A survey was conducted to empirically test the proposed research model consisting of latent constructs: social networking site use, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and employee job performance. Data of this confirmatory study was collected from 279 employees of various organizations operating in Pakistan. The model was analyzed employing variance-based structure equation modeling. Statistical software was used to assess both measurement and structural models. Results indicate that social networking sites use is not directly associated with employee job performance but with the mediating effects of job satisfaction that is also nested with the mediating effect of organizational commitment. This study is expected to both substantiate existing theories of management, and provide some extensions to social support theory.
Article
Past research highlights the potential for leveraging both humans and animals as social support figures in one’s real life to enhance performance and reduce physiological and psychological stress. Some studies have shown that typically dogs are more effective than people. Various situational and interpersonal circumstances limit the opportunities for receiving support from actual animals in the real world introducing the need for alternative approaches. To that end, advances in augmented reality (AR) technology introduce new opportunities for realizing and investigating virtual dogs as social support figures. In this paper, we report on a within-subjects 3x1 (i.e., no support, virtual human, or virtual dog) experimental design study with 33 participants. We examined the effect on performance, attitude towards the task and the support figure, and stress and anxiety measured through both subjective questionnaires and heart rate data. Our mixed-methods analysis revealed that participants significantly preferred, and more positively evaluated, the virtual dog support figure than the other conditions. Emerged themes from a qualitative analysis of our participants’ post-study interview responses are aligned with these findings as some of our participants mentioned feeling more comfortable with the virtual dog compared to the virtual human although the virtual human was deemed more interactive. We did not find significant differences between our conditions in terms of change in average heart rate; however, average heart rate significantly increased during all conditions. Our research contributes to understanding how AR virtual support dogs can potentially be used to provide social support to people in stressful situations, especially when real support figures cannot be present. We discuss the implications of our findings and share insights for future research.
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Objective: The present study aimed is Comparison of the Effectiveness of Animal-Assisted Therapy and play therapy In reducing Primary school children Components of behavioral disorders. Method: To investigate research assumptions, in semi-experimental formatting, 45 student were selected through Randomly sampling, and placed randomly in the Animal-Assisted Therapy (15 student), play therapy (15 student) and control group (15 student). All three groups in a pre-test, post-test were assessed by Rutter behavioral disorders scale. The experiment groups was exposed to 10 sessions Animal-Assisted Therapy and play therapy, the control groups was not exposed to any intervention. The data were analyzed by Multivariate analysis of variance and post hoc test (Bonferoni). Results: The results showed that effect of Animal-Assisted Therapy was not significant on the components of behavioral disorders. The results also showed that the effect of play therapy on the components of behavioral disorders was significant. The results of Bonferroni post hoc test showed that the two treatments were not significantly different in all components. Conclusion: According to the research findings, It seams Assisted Therapy and play therapy Have played an important role In reducing Primary school children behavioral disorders.https://jpe.atu.ac.ir/article_13005.html?lang=en
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Background Pets and animal companions have a beneficial influence in the social, cognitive and emotional lives of their human companions. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) capitalizes on this special human-animal bond by using trained animals as co-therapists alongside their human therapists to enhance the social and emotional well-being of people in clinical and non-clinical settings. There are many studies exploring the effectiveness of this approach but much of the research is located in the American, European and East-Asian countries while documentation of its application in India is limited to anecdotal accounts and conference proceedings. Being a relatively new therapy in India, this paper aims to inform practitioners about the process and possible challenges to be considered while planning and implementation of AAT as a school-based mental health program for children with special needs. Methodology Data was collected using semi-structured interview with therapists working in schools catering to special needs children in Mumbai and greater Mumbai area. Conclusions The study highlights lack of awareness, cultural beliefs and fear of animals, safety concerns, training of therapists and funding as challenges faced by therapists in practice. Deliberations on the importance of education/awareness about this approach, training requirements, need for documentation and outcome-based studies are put forth.
Chapter
Animal-Assisted Interventions have evolved in the past 50 years from a misunderstood field to a more respected form of complementary therapyComplementary therapy. Although the field still lacks in strong empirical evidence, science is catching up with what many have thought intuitively: our interactions with animals are good for our well-being. This chapter will provide an overview of the value of human–animal interactions and provide insights into both the physiological and psychological benefits of the human–animal bond. Attention will be given to defining the bond as well as providing insights on why people seem drawn to developing relationships with animals. Finally, attention will be given to offering an overview of the spectrum of animal-assisted interventions, the present state of affairs in the field as well as an introduction to the importance of preserving the welfare of all beings involved in these interactions.
Chapter
Kapitel enthält: emotionale, soziale und ethische Aspekte von Berührungen; Placeboeffekte; Embodiment; Haus- und Therapietiere; Einsamkeit. - Abstract: Im medizinischen Kontext können von erforderlichen Berührungen, die einem medizinischen oder pflegerischen Zweck dienen, soziale Berührungen unterschieden werden. Diese, oft spontan auftretenden Berührungen, erfüllen soziale oder emotionale Funktionen. Soziale Berührungen können beruhigend, tröstend, angst-, schmerz- oder stressreduzierend wirken. Es besteht somit die Möglichkeit, soziale Berührungen im medizinischen oder pflegerischen Kontext gezielt zu diesen Zwecken einzusetzen.
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Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) have been shown to be effective in the treatment of pain. Studies suggest that relationships with animals can have comparable qualities to relationships with humans and that this enables animals to provide social support. Further, the presence of an animal can strengthen the therapeutic alliance between patients and treatment providers. This suggests that the analgesic effects of AAI might be mediated by social support from an animal or by strengthening the alliance between the patient and the treatment provider. To test these assumptions, we examined the effects of the presence of a dog on experimentally induced pain in a pain assessment and a pain therapy context. Hundred thirty-two healthy participants were randomly assigned to the conditions “pain,” “pain + dog,” “pain + placebo,” or “pain + placebo + dog.” We collected baseline and posttreatment measurements of heat-pain tolerance and the heat-pain threshold and of the corresponding subjective ratings of heat-pain intensity and unpleasantness as well as of participants' perceptions of the study investigator. The primary outcome was heat-pain tolerance. The presence of the dog did not influence the primary outcome (“pain” vs. “pain + dog”: difference = 0.04, CI = −0.66 to 0.74, p = 0.905; “pain + placebo” vs. “pain + placebo + dog”: difference = 0.43, CI = −0.02 to 0.88, p = 0.059). Participants did also not perceive the study investigator to be more trustworthy in the presence of the dog (“pain” vs. “pain + dog”: difference = 0.10, CI = −0.67 to 0.87, p = 0.796; “pain + placebo” vs. “pain + placebo + dog”: difference = 0.11, CI = −0.43 to 0.64, p = 0.695). The results indicate that the mere presence of a dog does not contribute to pain reduction and that the analgesic effects of AAI that previous studies have found is not replicated in our study as AAI did not increase perceived social support and had no effect on the alliance between the participant and the treatment provider. We assume that the animal most likely needs to be an integrated and plausible part of the treatment rationale so that participants are able to form a treatment-response expectation toward AAI. Clinical Trial Registration: This study was preregistered as a clinical trial on www.clinicaltrials.gov (Identifier: NCT0389814).
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Bu çalışmanın amacı, 2000-2019 yılları arasında otizm spektrum bozukluğu olan çocuklara hayvan destekli müdahaleler aracılığıyla sunulan uygulamaların etkisini tek-denekli araştırma modelleriyle sınayan çalışmaları demografik, yöntemsel ve bulgu değişkenleri açısından incelemektir. Bu bağlamda yapılan alanyazın taramasında dâhil etme ve hâriç tutma kriterlerini karşılayan 11 makale incelemeye alınmış ve betimsel olarak analiz edilmiştir. Analiz sonucunda, bir çalışma dışında tüm çalışmalarda kullanılan hayvan destekli müdahalenin otizm spektrum bozukluğu olan katılımcıların hedef becerilerinde olumlu etki yarattığı ve gelişim sağladığı tespit edilmiştir. Ancak, araştırmaların çoğunun AB ve ABA modeli gibi en temel ve deneysel kontrol açısından zayıf olarak nitelendirilen tek-denekli araştırma modelleri ile desenlendiği ve bazı araştırmaların yinelenebilir özellikte raporlanmadığı belirlenmiştir. Bu doğrultuda hayvan destekli müdahalelerin etkilerini sınayan, katılımcı özellikleri, başlama düzeyi ve uygulama evrelerinin daha ayrıntılı ve açık bir biçimde rapor edildiği yinelenebilir özellikte daha fazla sayıda araştırmaya gereksinim olduğu düşünülmektedir. - The aim of this study is to examine the studies' effects of the practices offered through animal assisted interventions to children with autism spectrum disorder between 2000 and 2019 in terms of demographic, methodological and results variables. In this context, 11 articles meeting the inclusion and exclusion criteria were reviewed and analyzed descriptively. As a result of the analysis, it was determined that the animal assisted interventions used in all studies except one study had a positive effect on the target skills of the participants with autism spectrum disorder and provided improvement. However, it was determined that most of the studies were designed with single-subject research models such as the AB and ABA models, which were considered to be weak in terms of the most basic and experimental control, and some studies were not reported as reproducible. In this respect, it is thought that more reproducible studies are needed to test the effects of animal assisted interventions, and to report the participant characteristics, baseline and implementation phases in more detail and clearly.
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Background: Pets are often thought to be detrimental to sleep. Up to 75% of households with children have a pet, and 30-50% of adults and children regularly share their bed with their pets. Despite these high rates, few studies have examined the effect of pet-human co-sleeping on pediatric sleep. This study compared subjective and objective sleep in youth who never, sometimes, or frequently co-slept with pets. Methods: Children (N = 188; aged 11-17 years; M = 13.25 years) and their parents answered standardized sleep questionnaires assessing timing, duration, onset latency, awakenings, and sleep quality. Children completed a home polysomnography (PSG) sleep study for one night and wore an actigraph for two weeks accompanied with daily sleep diary. Based on reported frequency of bedsharing with pets, children were stratified into three co-sleeping groups: never (65.4%), sometimes (16.5%), frequently (18.1%). Results: Overall, 34.6% of children reported co-sleeping with their pet sometimes or frequently. Results revealed largely identical sleep profiles across co-sleeping groups; findings were congruent across sleep measurement (subjective: child, parent report; objective: PSG, actigraphy). Effect sizes indicated that frequent co-sleepers had the highest overall subjective sleep quality, but longest PSG onset-latency compared to the sometimes group. Conclusions: Co-sleeping with pets was prevalent in one third of children. Sleep dimensions were similar regardless of how frequently children reported sharing their bed with their pet. Future research should examine dyadic measurement of co-sleepers to derive causal evidence to better inform sleep recommendations.
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During two retreats in 2017 and 2020, a group of international scientists convened to explore the Human-Animal Bond. The meetings, hosted by the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Institute, took a broad view of the human-dog relationship and how interactions between the two may benefit us medically, psychologically or through their service as working dogs (e.g. guide dogs, explosive detection, search and rescue, cancer detection). This Frontiers’ Special Topic has collated the presentations into a broad collection of 14 theoretical and review papers summarizing the latest research and practice in the historical development of our deepening bond with dogs, the physiological and psychological changes that occur during human-dog interactions (to both humans and dogs) as well as the selection, training and welfare of companion animals and working dogs. The overarching goals of this collection are to contribute to the current standard of understanding of human-animal interaction, suggest future directions in applied research, and to consider the interdisciplinary societal implications of the findings.
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Background Many studies have been conducted investigating a range of environmental factors which have been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). We collated available data about exposure to domestic animals before symptom onset in MS to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis. Methods Medline, Embase and Cinahl were searched for relevant articles, based on pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria and reference lists were hand-searched. Data were extracted and critical analysis was conducted using the Newcastle-Ottawa criteria. Meta-analysis used random effects. Results Study heterogeneity was high and study quality was variable. Random effects meta-analysis showed no associations with any pet ownership and development of MS. Conclusion It is not possible to draw definitive conclusions from this work. The studies included had a high level of heterogeneity. There are many variables involved in pet ownership and exposure and the nature of the way these have been studied makes the analysis challenging.
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This study explored the effectiveness of a novel technique for police departments to support their officers and promote wellness: the use of service dogs. We evaluated officer perceptions in two mid-sized, municipal police departments that have wellness programs with a service dog that is permanently assigned to a full-time police officer handler: Groton and Naugatuck, Connecticut. We assessed six factors believed to influence police officer wellness including: operational and organizational stress using the Police Stress Questionnaire; topical stressors including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, police use of force and community relations, and police reform efforts; Perceived Organizational Support (POS); receptivity to service dogs; and willingness to seek assistance for mental health issues. We found evidence that exposure to service dogs is significantly linked to both POS and receptivity to service dogs in policing. We also found that officer willingness to seek their department’s assistance regarding mental health approaches significance with greater exposure to the service dog ( p = .07). Although we found no significant evidence that exposure to service dogs is linked to stress reduction, we found that police reforms pose a substantial perceived stress on officers in the study. This finding presents a serious challenge for reformers that risks undermining officer wellness. Implications of our findings and recommendations for future research are discussed.
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Social support has been linked to long-term physiological change and health status. However, the effects of social support on physiological functions and health have not been uniform. Understanding of these relationships may be fostered by isolating the elementary components of social support and studying their individual and interactive effects on physiological response. To examine the potential of this approach, we conducted an experiment in which subjects performed arithmetic problems in one of three social contexts: alone, observed by a same-sex stranger, or observed by a same-sex friend
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Cognitive appraisal theories of stress and emotion propose that cognitive appraisals precede physiological responses, whereas peripheralist theories propose that physiological arousal precedes cognitive processes. Three studies examined this issue regarding threat and challenge responses to potential stress. Study 1 supported cognitive appraisal theory by demonstrating that threat and challenge cognitive appraisals and physiological responses could be elicited experimentally by manipulating instructional set. Studies 2 and 3, in contrast, found that manipulations of physiological response patterns consistent with challenge and threat did not result in corresponding changes in cognitive appraisal. Appraisals in Study 3, however, were related to subjective pain independent of the physiological manipulation. These studies suggest a central role for cognitive appraisal processes in elicitation of threat and challenge responses to potentially stressful situations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Autonomic responses were measured while 45 adult women performed a standard experimental stress task in the laboratory with only the experimenter present and 2 weeks later at home in the presence of a female friend, pet dog, or neither. Results demonstrated that autonomic reactivity was moderated by the presence of a companion, the nature of whom was critical to the size and direction of the effect. Ss in the friend condition exhibited higher physiological reactivity and poorer performance than subjects in the control and pet conditions. Ss in the pet condition showed less physiological reactivity during stressful tasks than Ss in the other conditions. The results are interpreted in terms of the degree to which friends and pets are perceived as evaluative during stressful task performance. Physiological reactivity was consistent across the laboratory and field settings.
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The purpose of this article is to determine whether the positive association between social support and well-being is attributable more to an overall beneficial effect of support (main- or direct-effect model) or to a process of support protecting persons from potentially adverse effects of stressful events (buffering model). The review of studies is organized according to (a) whether a measure assesses support structure or function, and (b) the degree of specificity (vs. globality) of the scale. By structure we mean simply the existence of relationships, and by function we mean the extent to which one’s interpersonal relationships provide particular resources. Special attention is paid to methodological characteristics that are requisite for a fair comparison of the models. The review concludes that there is evidence consistent with both models. Evidence for a buffering model is found when the social support measure assesses the perceived availability of interpersonal resources that are responsive to the needs elicited by stressful events. Evidence for a main effect model is found when the support measure assesses a person’s degree of integration in a large social network. Both conceptualizations of social support are correct in some respects, but each represents a different process through which social support may affect well-being. Implications of these conclusions for theories of social support processes and for the design of preventive interventions are discussed.
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The findings of this study confirm the independent importance of social factors in the determination of health status. Social data obtained during patients' hospitalization can be valuable in discriminating 1-year survivors. These social data can add to the prognostic discrimination beyond the effects of the well-known physiological predictors. More information is needed about all forms of human companionship and disease. Thus, it is important that future investigations of prognosis in various disease states include measures of the patient's social and psychological status with measures of disease severity. The phenomenon of pet ownership and the potential value of pets as a source of companionship activity or attention deserved more careful attention that that recorded in the literature. Almost half of the homes in the United States have some kind of pet. Yet, to our knowledge, no previous studies have included pet ownership among the social variables examined to explain disease distribution. Little cost is incurred by the inclusion of pet ownership in such studies, and it is certainly by the importance of pets in the lives of people today and the long history of association between human beings and companion animals. The existence of pets as important household members should be considered by those who are responsible for medical treatment. The need to care for a pet or to arrange for its care may delay hospitalization; it may also be a source of concern for patients who are hospitalized. Recognition of this concern by physicians, nurses, and social workers may alleviate emotional stress among such patients. The therapeutic uses of pets have been considered for patients hospitalized with mental illnesses and the elderly. The authors suggest that patients with coronary heart disease should also be included in this consideration. Large numbers of older patients with coronary heart disease are socially isolated and lonely. While it is not yet possible to conclude that pet ownership is beneficial to these patients, pets are an easily attainable source of psychological comfort with relatively few risks.
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This study examined whether highly cynical individuals benefit less from social support during an acute stressor than individuals low in cynicism. College students (52 men, 52 women) performed a stressful speech task alone or in the presence of a supportive confederate. There was an interactive effect of social support and cynicism on cardiovascular reactivity: Low cynicism participants who received support has smaller increases in blood pressure during the speech than low cynicism participants without support and high cynicism participants with or without support. Participants' psychological stress appeared to mediate the main effects of support on blood pressure reactivity, but not the Support x Cynicism interaction. Results suggest that cynical attitudes may undermine the stress buffering potential of interpersonal support.
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This study examined whether social support can reduce cardiovascular reactivity to an acute stressor. College students gave a speech in one of three social conditions: alone, in the presence of a supportive confederate, or in the presence of a nonsupportive confederate. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were measured at rest, before the speech, and during the speech. While anticipating and delivering their speech, supported and alone subjects exhibited significantly smaller increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressures than did nonsupported subjects. Supported subjects also exhibited significantly smaller increases in systolic blood pressure than did alone subjects before and during the speech. Men had higher stress-related increases in blood pressures than did women; but gender did not moderate the effects of social support on cardiovascular reactivity. These results provide experimental evidence of potential health benefits of social support during acute stressors.
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To assess the value of service dogs for people with ambulatory disabilities. Randomized, controlled clinical trial. Environments of study participants. Forty-eight individuals with severe and chronic ambulatory disabilities requiring use of wheelchairs who were recruited from advocacy and support groups for persons with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury. Participants were matched on age, sex, marital status, race, and the nature and severity of the disability in order to create 24 pairs. Within each pair, participants were randomly assigned to either the experimental group or a wait-list control group. Experimental group members received trained service dogs 1 month after the study began, and subjects in the wait-list control group received dogs in month 13 of the study. Dependent variables evaluated were self-reported assessments of psychological well-being, internal locus of control, community integration, school attendance, part-time work status, self-esteem, marital status, living arrangements, and number of biweekly paid and unpaid assistance hours. Data collection occurred every 6 months over a 2-year period, resulting in five data collection points for all subjects. Significant positive changes in all but two dependent measures were associated with the presence of a service dog both between and within groups (P<.001). Psychologically, all participants showed substantial improvements in self-esteem, internal locus of control, and psychological well-being within 6 months after receiving their service dog. Socially, all participants showed similar improvements in community integration. Demographically, all participants showed increases in school attendance and/or part-time employment. Economically, all participants showed dramatic decreases in the number of both paid and unpaid assistance hours. Trained service dogs can be highly beneficial and potentially cost-effective components of independent living for people with physical disabilities.
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In this review, the authors examine the evidence linking social support to physiological processes and characterize the potential mechanisms responsible for these covariations. A review of 81 studies revealed that social support was reliably related to beneficial effects on aspects of the cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems. An analysis of potential mechanisms underlying these associations revealed that (a) potential health-related behaviors do not appear to be responsible for these associations; (b) stress-buffering effects operate in some studies; (c) familial sources of support may be important; and (d) emotional support appears to be at least 1 important dimension of social support. Recommendations and directions for future research include the importance of conceptualizing social support as a multidimensional construct, examination of potential mechanisms across levels of analyses, and attention to the physiological process of interest.
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We tested whether the presence of a stranger reduces cardiovascular responses during stressful tasks if the evaluation potential of the stranger is minimized and whether cardiovascular responses are affected by the quality of support in a friendship. Undergraduate women performed stressful tasks in one of three conditions: Alone, with a same-sex Stranger, or with a same-sex best Friend. The stranger and friend could not hear participants' responses. Alone women had the greatest increases in SBP and HR while women in the Stranger and Friend conditions did not differ in their responses. In the Friend condition, HR responses were smallest in women who were highly satisfied with the support that they generally received from their friend. We conclude that the presence of a nonevaluative friend or stranger can reduce cardiovascular responses and that the quality of supportive ties modulates the impact of those ties on responses to stress.
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Laboratory research indicates that the presence of a supportive other can reduce physiological responses to a stressor. Whether there are gender differences, either on the part of the provider or the recipient, in this social support effect is explored. Such differences might shed some light on the frequent epidemiological reports of gender differences in social support and health. Male and female subjects gave an impromptu speech and received either standardized supportive or nonsupportive feedback from a male or female confederate. Blood pressure and heart rate were monitored continuously during baseline and speech periods. Speakers with a supportive female audience showed a systolic increase of 25 mm Hg over baseline. Those with a nonsupportive female audience increased 36 mm Hg. A supportive male audience led to increases of 32 mm Hg, and a nonsupportive male audience 28 mm Hg. There was no significant effect of gender of subject. Results indicate that social support provided by women reduced cardiovascular changes for both male and female speakers compared with presence of a nonsupportive female audience. Social support from men did not. These findings suggest a possible mechanism that might help explain the epidemiological literature on the relationship between gender, social support, and health. The findings are consistent with the notion that married men are healthier because they marry women. Women do not profit as much from marriage or suffer as much from separation, in terms of health outcomes, because the support they gain or lose is the less effective support of a man. These findings render more plausible the possibility that differences in social support might contribute to health differences, through the dampening of cardiovascular responses to stress.
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Social support and integration have been linked to health and longevity in many correlational studies. To explain how social relationships might enhance health, investigators are examining the effects of social support on physiological processes implicated in disease. Much of this research focuses on testing the social support-reactivity hypothesis, which maintains that social support enhances health by reducing psychobiologic reactivity to stressors. This article identifies the basic assumptions, problems, and prospects of this research endeavor. The major problems discussed include: (a) inconsistent findings across studies; (b) unidentified cognitive and emotional mediators; (c) individual differences in response to social support; and (d) a lack of experimental studies on the role of social support in adjustment to chronic stress. Besides raising consciousness about these problems, I offer ideas for advancing research in this area.
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In the present study, we evaluated the effect of a nonevaluative social support intervention (pet ownership) on blood pressure response to mental stress before and during ACE inhibitor therapy. Forty-eight hypertensive individuals participated in an experiment at home and in the physician's office. Participants were randomized to an experimental group with assignment of pet ownership in addition to lisinopril (20 mg/d) or to a control group with only lisinopril (20 mg/d). On each study day, blood pressure, heart rate, and plasma renin activity were recorded at baseline and after each mental stressor (serial subtraction and speech). Before drug therapy, mean responses to mental stress did not differ significantly between experimental and control groups in heart rate (94 [SD 6.8] versus 93 [6.8] bpm), systolic blood pressure (182 [8.0] versus 181 [8.3] mm Hg), diastolic blood pressure (120 [6.6] versus 119 [7.9] mm Hg), or plasma renin activity (9.4 [0.59] versus 9.3 [0.57] ng. mL(-1). h(-1)). Lisinopril therapy lowered resting blood pressure by approximately 35/20 mm Hg in both groups, but responses to mental stress were significantly lower among pet owners relative to those who only received lisinopril (P<0.0001; heart rate 81 [6.3] versus 91 [6.5] bpm, systolic blood pressure 131 [6.8] versus 141 [7.8] mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure 92 [6.3] versus 100 [6.8] mm Hg, and plasma renin activity 13.9 [0.92] versus 16.1 [0.58] ng. mL(-1). h(-1)). We conclude that ACE inhibitor therapy alone lowers resting blood pressure, whereas increased social support through pet ownership lowers blood pressure response to mental stress.
Book
In this groundbreaking work, distinguished contributors explore the myriad relationships between networks of social support and the development, treatment, and rehabilitation of individuals with cardiovascular disease. Chapters span the range from conceptual to methodological issues, and take into account gender, environmental, and cultural differences. The book will provide a wealth of information for clinicians and students in the fields of behavioral medicine, psychophysiology, and cardiovascular disease.
Article
Research findings have suggested that social support decreases cardiovascular reactivity and reduces the incidence of cardiovascular disease. The authors describe 2 studies evaluating the association between social support and cardiovascular reactivity to a stressor: In both studies, it was predicted that the presence of a supportive person would exert a buffering effect on cardiovascular reactivity. In Study 1, 68 participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: alone, supportive, and nonsupportive. In Study 2, 60 participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: highly supportive, supportive, and nonsupportive. in both studies, a speech was the stressor: Results in both studies showed net significant differences in cardiovascular reactivity between supportive and nonsupportive conditions. The results failed to support the reactivity buffering effects of social support. Findings are explained in terms of evaluation apprehension theory, familiarity of support provider and level of social support.
Article
An 18-item Likert-format Pet Attitude Scale was developed. It was found to have a Chronbach’s Alpha of.93 and test-retest reliability of .92. Correlations with the Mini-Mult, Eysenck Personality Inventory, Allport-Vernon-Lindzey Study of Values, and the Personality Research Form were determined. Varimax rotation yielded three factors, labeled love and interaction, pets in home, and joy of pet ownership. Kennel workers had significantly higher scores than social work students, an indication of criterion-oriented validity as well as face validity.
Article
We examined the role of social support in moderating cardiovascular reactivity to behavioral stress. Fifty female students performed a stressful math task while alone or in the presence of a close female friend. The friend-present condition was either high or low in evaluation potential. Subjects in the non-evaluative friend-present condition showed reduced systolic blood pressure reactivity compared to those alone during the task. Subjects in the evaluative friend-present condition did not differ from the others on any cardiovascular measure. Perceived closeness to the friend and length of the friendship positively correlated with size of the systolic blood pressure reduction in subjects assigned to friend-present conditions, regardless of evaluation condition. Simultaneous monitoring of the friends' cardiovascular activity revealed that the non-evaluative friends showed decreasing blood pressure during the task, whereas the evaluative friends did not. The findings suggest that the measurable benefit of social support may require protocols with minimal or no element of evaluation.
Article
Describes the development of the Relationship Closeness Inventory (RCI), which draws on the conceptualization of closeness as high interdependence between two people's activities proposed by Kelley et al. (1983). The current "closest" relationship of individuals ( N = 241) drawn from the college student population served as the basis for RCI development, with the closest relationship found to encompass several relationship types, including romantic, friend, and family relationships. The development and psychometric properties of the three RCI subscales (Frequency, Diversity, Strength), their scoring, and their combination to form an overall index of closeness are described. The RCI's test–retest reliability is reported and the association between RCI score and the longevity of the relationship is discussed. RCI scores for individuals' closest relationships are contrasted to those of not-close relationships, to a subjective closeness index, and to several measures of relationship affect, including Rubin's (1973) Liking and Loving scales. Finally, the ability of the RCI to predict relationship break up is contrasted to that of the Subjective Closeness Index, an index of the emotional tone of the relationship, and to relationship longevity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This volume is intended as a guide for doing social support research, as a compendium of . . . work in this field, and as a source of information on the implications of existing work for social policy. . . . We focus on nonprofessional (informal) social support provided by friends, relatives, and acquaintances. This book is of special interest to the large interdisciplinary group of research professionals concerned with the role of psychosocial factors in both physical and mental health. It is also of special interest to practitioners involved in the increasing number of programs designed to support or establish natural helping networks. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
From among 250 MMPI items that discriminated significantly between teachers scoring high and teachers scoring low on the Minnesota Teacher Attitude Inventory, two sets of 50 items were selected (principally on the basis of content) to form a Hostility (Ho) Scale and a Pharisaic virtue (Pv) scale. "The Ho scale… reveals a type of individual characterized by a dislike for and distrust of others. The Pv scale… reveals a type of person who described himself as preoccupied with morality and ridden with fears and tensions." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The effect of the presence of a friendly animal on children's blood pressures and heart rates while resting and their cardiovascular responses to verbalization were examined. The presence of the dog resulted in lower blood pressures both while the children (N = 38) were resting and while they were reading. The effect of the presence of the dog was greater when the dog was present initially than when it was introduced in the second half of the experiment. We speculate that the animal causes the children to modify their perceptions of the experimental situation and the experimenter by making both less threatening and more friendly. This study provides insight into the use of pets as adjuncts in psychotherapy. (C) Williams & Wilkins 1983. All Rights Reserved.
Article
A perceived availability of social support measure (the ISEL) was designed with independent subscales measuring four separate support functions. In a sample of college students, both perceived availability of social support and number of positive events moderated the relationship between negative life stress and depressive and physical symptomatology. In the case of depressive symptoms, the data fit a “buffering” hypothesis pattern, i.e., they suggest that both social support and positive events protect one from the pathogenic effects of high levels of life stress but are relatively unimportant for those with low levels of stress. In the case of physical symptoms, the data only partially support the buffering hypothesis. Particularly, the data suggest that both social support and positive events protect one from the pathogenic effects of high levels of stress but harm those (i.e., are associated with increased symptomatology) with low levels of stress. Further analyses suggest that self-esteem and appraisal support were primarily responsible for the reported interactions between negative life stress and social support. In contrast, frequency of past social support was not an effective life stress buffer in either the case of depressive or physical symptomatology. Moreover, past support frequency was positively related to physical symptoms and unrelated to depressive symptoms, while perceived availability of support was negatively related to depressive symptoms and unrelated to physical symptoms.
Article
To examine the effects of social support on cardiovascular reactions to behavioral stress, the present study tested the relative contribution of three elements of social support: the presence of another person in the laboratory; the presence of a person considered to be a friend; and physical touch. Sixty undergraduate females were assigned to one of the following groups: alone (A); friend present-touch (FT); friend present-no touch (FNT); stranger present-touch (ST); and stranger present-no touch (SNT). Heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) measures were obtained across baseline phases and during presentation of two behavioral challenges (mental arithmetic, mirror-tracing). The findings suggest that neither the presence of a stranger nor physical touch are related to attenuated cardiovascular reactions to stress; rather, if the extent of cardiovascular reactivity is related to social support, the presence of a friend may be the important mediating variable.
Article
In this study we investigated the effects of nonevaluative social interaction on the cardiovascular response to psychological challenge. Thirty-nine college-age females appeared accompanied ("Friend" condition) or unaccompanied ("Alone" condition) to an experimental laboratory. In the Friend condition, partners were present while the subject participated in two laboratory tasks, and the partners' evaluation potential was minimized by design. Subjects in the Friend condition showed reduced heart rate reactivity to both tasks, relative to the Alone group, an attenuated task-related systolic blood pressure response to one of the tasks, and a reduced diastolic blood pressure increase during a solitary interview. In two other instances, partner-related response reductions were apparent only for Type A subjects. None of these effects was accompanied by differences in task performance or self-reported emotional response. Interpersonal support may reduce cardiovascular responsivity to stress, an effect with possible implications for understanding the association between social relationships and cardiovascular risk.
Article
The physician utilization behavior of 938 Medicare enrollees in a health maintenance organization was prospectively followed for 1 year. With demographic characteristics and health status at baseline controlled for, respondents who owned pets reported fewer doctor contacts over the 1-year period than respondents who did not own pets. Furthermore, pets seemed to help their owners in times of stress. The accumulation of prebaseline stressful life events was associated with increased doctor contacts during the study year for respondents without pets. This relationship did not emerge for pet owners. Owners of dogs, in particular, were buffered from the impact of stressful life events on physician utilization. Additional analyses showed that dog owners in comparison to owners of other pets spent more time with their pets and felt that their pets were more important to them. Thus, dogs more than other pets provided their owners with companionship and an object of attachment.
Article
Previous research suggests that anger has important social and health consequences, particularly cardiovascular health. The pathogenic aspects of anger have not been identified, however, in part because of a reliance on unidimensional measures of anger. The present article describes psychometric data for an inventory that is sensitive to the multidimensional nature of the anger construct. It was hypothesized that the newly developed Multidimensional Anger Inventory (MAI) would include scales reflective of the following dimensions of anger: frequency, duration, magnitude, mode of expression, hostile outlook, and range of anger-eliciting situations. The mode of expression dimension was expected to contain separate anger-in, anger-out, guilt, brood, and anger-discuss measures. The inventory was administered to two populations: male and female college students and male factory workers. Factor analyses of the MAI within the two samples showed that the frequency, duration, and magnitude dimensions clustered together to form an anger-arousal factor that accounted for 64% and 71% of the variance in the two samples, respectively. The range of anger-eliciting situations and hostile outlook emerged as separate dimensions, as hypothesized. Mode of anger expression was best described by two dimensions labeled anger-in and anger-out. Psychometric analyses of the scale showed that it possessed adequate test-retest reliability (r = 0.75) and high internal consistency (alpha = .84 and .89 for the two samples). The validity of the scale was supported by the expected pattern of relations with other inventories designed to assess anger or hostility. Comparisons of MAI scores between (college versus factory) and within (male versus female) populations were made.
Article
Social support and pet ownership, a nonhuman form of social support, have both been associated with increased coronary artery disease survival. The independent effects of pet ownership, social support, disease severity, and other psychosocial factors on 1-year survival after acute myocardial infarction are examined prospectively. The Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial provided physiologic data on a group of post-myocardial infarction patients with asymptomatic ventricular arrhythmias. An ancillary study provided psychosocial data, including pet ownership, social support, recent life events, future life events, anxiety, depression, coronary prone behavior, and expression of anger. Subjects (n = 424) were randomly selected from patients attending participating Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial sites and completed baseline psychosocial questionnaires. One year survival data were obtained from 369 patients (87%), of whom 112 (30.4%) owned pets and 20 (5.4%) died. Logistic regression indicates that high social support (p < 0.068) and owning a pet (p = 0.085) tend to predict survival independent of physiologic severity and demographic and other psychosocial factors. Dog owners (n = 87, 1 died) are significantly less likely to die within 1 year than those who did not own dogs (n = 282, 19 died; p < 0.05); amount of social support is also an independent predictor of survival (p = 0.065). Both pet ownership and social support are significant predictors of survival, independent of the effects of the other psychosocial factors and physiologic status. These data confirm and extend previous findings relating pet ownership and social support to survival among patients with coronary artery disease.
Article
This study examines the possibility that social support operates as a moderator of cardiovascular reactivity in women. Two models by which social support may operate were examined: the direct effects and buffering models. Twenty-six subjects were exposed to four conditions while playing a video game: two levels of stress (low, high) and two levels of social support (alone, together). Blood pressure and heart rate were monitored continuously. Ratings of stress were obtained for each condition. Results indicated that the support manipulation produced significant main effects for diastolic blood pressure and stress ratings, with lower diastolic blood pressure and ratings observed in the "together" condition, and that the interaction between support and stress produced lower reactivity for the cardiovascular measures in the high stress (but not the low stress) condition. No interaction was found for the stress ratings. We conclude that the results provide support for both the buffering and direct effects models. Implications concerning the (within-subjects) design of the study and the stress ratings are discussed.
Article
We investigated whether the effects on cardiovascular reactivity of social support from an audience member depend only on the behavior of that person or also depend on the relationship between the audience and the actor. That is, is there any added reduction in physiological response if the person who is nodding and smiling supportively is also a friend? Ninety subjects gave a speech to an observer. In two of the conditions, this observer was a confederate of the experimenter and a stranger to the subject. This confederate acted in either a supportive or neutral manner during the speech. In the final condition, this observer was a friend, brought by the subject, who was then trained to show support in the same manner as the supportive confederate. The comparison of the two confederate conditions tested the effect of support, holding the relationship constant. The comparison of friend and confederate supportive conditions tested the effect of the relationship, holding the supportive behaviors constant. All participants were female. Both supportive conditions produced significantly smaller cardiovascular increases than the confederate-neutral condition, and the friend-supportive condition produced significantly smaller systolic blood pressure increases than the confederate-supportive (friend-supportive: 7.9 mm Hg: confederate-supportive: 14.9 mm Hg; confederate-neutral: 22.9 mm Hg). Differences for diastolic pressure and heart rate were not significant, although the data followed the same pattern. Social support from a friend attenuated cardiovascular reactivity in a laboratory setting to a greater degree than support from a stranger. The subjects' construal of the supportive behaviors can have an effect on reactivity, over and above the effects of the actual behaviors themselves.
Article
Recent research has suggested that cardiovascular recovery from stress can play a potential role in hypertension pathogenesis. Sixty-nine studies were included in a meta-analytic review to evaluate the effect of various hypertension risk factors (e.g., race, lack of exercise) on cardiovascular recovery from stress. Small mean effect sizes were observed for studies examining hypertension status and race as risk factors associated with delayed diastolic blood pressure recovery. Lack of fitness was also associated with delayed heart rate recovery. These results revealed that, for the specified risk factors and cardiovascular variables, high-risk individuals exhibited delayed cardiovascular recovery as compared with low-risk individuals. Further, the relationships between hypertension status, race, and cardiovascular recovery were typically associated with the use of "active" laboratory stressors. The relationship between lack of fitness and cardiovascular recovery was also associated with the use of "active" and exercise laboratory stressors.
Article
Research findings have suggested that social support decreases cardiovascular reactivity and reduces the incidence of cardiovascular disease. The authors describe 2 studies evaluating the association between social support and cardiovascular reactivity to a stressor. In both studies, it was predicted that the presence of a supportive person would exert a buffering effect on cardiovascular reactivity. In Study 1, 68 participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: alone, supportive, and nonsupportive. In Study 2, 60 participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: highly supportive, supportive, and nonsupportive. In both studies, a speech was the stressor. Results in both studies showed no significant differences in cardiovascular reactivity between supportive and nonsupportive conditions. The results failed to support the reactivity buffering effects of social support. Findings are explained in terms of evaluation apprehension theory, familiarity of support provider, and level of social support.
Article
The impact of pet ownership on depression was tested among a sample of gay and bisexual men (n = 1,872). Multivariate analyses, controlling for demographics and baseline depressive symptomatology, showed that neither pet ownership nor the presence of HIV infection was associated with depression. Depression was influenced by the presence of AIDS and by having relatively few confidants. Analyses among HIV-infected men only showed that persons with AIDS who owned pets reported less depression than persons with AIDS who did not own pets. This beneficial effect of pet ownership occurred principally among persons who reported fewer confidants. These results suggest that by enhancing companionship for some HIV-infected persons, pets may buffer the stressful impact of AIDS.
Article
Oscillometric pressure is measured by analysing, in relation to the cuff pressure, low-amplitude cuff-pressure pulsations generated by each arterial pulse. The cuff pressure is sampled at the pulse rate, introducing measurement variations, which are compounded by artefactual pulses. To study the consistency of measurements with and without artefacts using simulated waveforms. The Propaq Smartcuf (with and without electrocardiographic synchronization), the Welch Allyn 52 000 (before and after its software had been upgraded), the Critikon DINAMAP 8100 and Compact TS and the Criticare 507 NJC were evaluated. Each monitor recorded 15 determinations at 120/80 (93) mmHg without and with either low-frequency or high-frequency artefacts generated by the Bio-Tek BP-Pump simulator. Consistency of measurements was defined as SD of less than 2 mmHg for at least two of the systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressures with all less than 3 mmHg. All monitors except the Critikon 8100 satisfied the consistency criteria without artefacts with most SD less than 1 mmHg. Several satisfied the criteria with a severe low-frequency artefact (all recorded SD were less than 6 mmHg). None satisfied the criteria with a severe high-frequency artefact. High systolic blood pressures were typically recorded with a severe tremor artefact, though the Criticare device, which measures during cuff inflation, recorded lower systolic blood pressures. The Propaq device with electrocardiographic synchronization had the lowest variability, with synchronization increasing determination time. Oscillometric monitors are more sensitive to a high-frequency artefact than they are to a low-frequency artefact. Signal-processing techniques can improve consistency of measurements. Simulators can evaluate a monitor's consistency with and without artefacts.
Article
The underuse of cardiovascular recovery as an adjunct to reactivity may stem from a lack of research on how to assess the process reliably. We explore the test-retest reliability of three simple, intuitive approaches to measuring recovery, and of a more sophisticated curve-fitting technique. Eighteen young normotensive subjects experienced three stressors twice each, with 10-min baseline, 3-min task, and 20-min recovery periods and continuous monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure. Reactivity showed moderate reliability, but the three simple approaches to measuring recovery revealed essentially none. However, the curve-fitting approach, using a three-parameter (amount, speed, and level of recovery) logistic function was reliable. This approach, capturing the inherently dynamic process of cardiovascular recovery, may allow researchers to usefully add the assessment of recovery to paradigms exploring reactivity as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Article
Motion artifact tends to degrade oscillometric noninvasive blood pressure measurement (NIBP) accuracy and other aspects of performance (measurement time, patient comfort, false-positive readings). Medical personnel generally have not fully appreciated the extent of these degradations, in part because NIBP provides no waveform display to allow visualization of artifact disruption (unlike the electrocardiography (ECG) and pulse oximetry (SpO2) patient channels). More importantly, the magnitude and frequency of NIBP errors has also gone unappreciated because the auditory noise produced by transport vibration prevents accurate quantification of NIBP accuracy by the traditional auscultatory method. To overcome these problems, a commercially available NIBP simulator was modified to permit the superimposition of repeatable motion artifact waveforms from a function generator onto known patient blood pressure profiles available in the NIBP simulator. The superimposed artifact waveforms had been collected under transport conditions. This methodology enabled comparisons between artifact-free NIBP readings, on the one hand, and artifact-contaminated readings on the other. Monitors under test were subjected to multiple combinations of patient and artifact profiles. Measurement errors were expressed as a percent deviation of the artifact-contaminated readings from the expected (artifact-free) readings. Statistical analyses of the data compared the performance of the different monitor types with nonparametric tests of inference (Kruskal-Wallis H test, Mann-Whitney U test, and chi-squared test). These analyses demonstrated statistically significant differences in performance including accuracy, yield (incidence of values within various error categories), retries, measurement time, and false-positive readings under artifact-only conditions. The method further demonstrated that the monitor using ECG synchronization to filter motion artifact achieved statistically and clinically significant improvements in accuracy without compromising clinical expectations for measurement time. This approach provided a reproducible and quantifiable method by which to assess and differentiate the artifact tolerance of different NIBP technologies.
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