Article

Dogs as Catalysts for Social Interactions: Robustness of the Effect

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

It is known that pet dogs can act as catalysts for human social interactions, and it has been suggested that this may enhance feelings of well-being. Two studies were carried out to establish the robustness of this effect. In Study 1, a highly trained dog was used to ensure that the dog itself did not solicit attention from passers-by, and data were collected across a range of normal daily activities in which a dog could be included, not confined to conventional dog walking areas as in previous studies. Being accompanied by a dog increased the frequency of social interactions, especially interactions with strangers. In Study 2, also using a trained dog, a different (male) participant observer was dressed either smartly or scruffily. Although there were significantly more interactions when he was smartly dressed, the greatest effect was between the Dog present and No Dog conditions irrespective of the handler's dress. It is concluded that the social catalysis effect is very robust, which opens the way for investigating possible consequences of the effect for wellbeing and health.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... 1988, Mader etal. 1989, McNicholas & Collis 2000. For example, the studies by Messent (1983) and McNicholas & Collis (2000), who both observed ablebodied people, saw more social interactions when the subjects were accompanied by a dog. ...
... 1989, McNicholas & Collis 2000. For example, the studies by Messent (1983) and McNicholas & Collis (2000), who both observed ablebodied people, saw more social interactions when the subjects were accompanied by a dog. ...
... It has been suggested that dogs promote social interactions between owners and strangers (Hoyt & Hudson 1980, Messent 1983, Eddy et al. 1988, Mader at al. 1989, McNicholas & Collis 2000. For example, Hoyt & Hudson (1980) observed that there were almost twice as many interactions with a person with a guide dog than with a person with a cane. ...
Thesis
p>The aim of this thesis is to elucidate possible factors which influence the acceptability of assistance dogs, and make comparisons between Japan and the UK. Two main questions were asked. Firstly, what are the differences in attitudes towards and relationships with animals between Japan and the UK? Secondly, what are the differences in the current state of the assistance dog movement between the two countries? In the first study, the relationship between childhood experiences and attitudes towards animals in adulthood was investigated. The second study examined attitudes towards dogs in general. The third study, which investigated knowledge of and attitudes towards assistance dogs suggested that assistance dogs, except guide dogs for the blind, are still not widely used in either country. In the fourth study, guide dog owners were interviewed about their experiences of using a guide dog. Both Japanese and British guide dog owners shared similar problems associated with other people, in terms of prejudice towards people with disabilities and denial of access to facilities such as restaurants. They were also commonly annoyed by people's interference in the dogs' work. The worst issue for British owners seemed to be people who were selfish and inconsiderate to them and their dogs. For Japanese owners, people who criticised them when they disciplined their dogs seemed to be the worst problem. In the final study, interactions between guide dog owners and the general public were observed unobtrusively. The dog attracted people's attention and sometimes promoted social interactions between its owner and strangers both in Japan and the UK. The dogs themselves received more interactions from people in Japan than in the UK.</p
... Animals may also offer social support to individuals serving as a nonjudgmental and secure attachment partner (Beetz, 2017). Animals can function as a bridge for social interactions in the human-to-human context offering a unique support for individuals with ASD (McNicholas & Collis, 2000). Studies of AAI and individuals with ASD demonstrate that AAI may reduce overall symptom severity, stress, problem behaviors, repetitive behaviors, and can improve motor skills and communication (O'Haire, 2017). ...
... A prominent theory in human-animal interaction literature is social support theory (Beetz, 2017) in that animals can be a nonjudgmental companion and support figure for individuals. Additionally, the theory suggests that animals can function as a bridge for social interactions in the human-tohuman context (McNicholas & Collis, 2000). This finding supports this theory in that animals may be a social support for individuals with ASD, creating an avenue for growth in social interaction skills and experiences. ...
... Findings were predominantly positive with only two studies not citing significant improvements. Animals may provide an avenue for individuals with ASD to improve communication and language by acting as a bridge for the skills developed during interaction with the animal to interaction with humans (McNicholas & Collis, 2000). Future studies should continue exploring outcomes related to language and communication. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the last 5 years, the literature on animal-assisted intervention (AAI) for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has doubled in size from 42 studies prior to 2015 to 85 studies (cumulative total assessed in 2020). Horses remain the most commonly researched animal for AAI, followed by dogs. The most commonly researched outcome was social interaction, across 21 studies. Though the quantity of studies has increased, issues with methodological rigor remain. Results highlight the need for a continued focus on methodological rigor as well as refining the structure of animal-assisted interventions, addressing the welfare needs of the animals involved, and continuing to establish an evidence base of both significant and nonsignificant findings for AAI for individuals with ASD.
... Why might dogs have such beneficial effects on humans? From an evolutionary viewpoint, humans have a long-shared history with dogs, originating from a mutually beneficial relationship in which humans provide food, shelter and safety for the pet while the pet dog contributes to physiological health and psychological wellbeing, provides social-emotional support and safety and also acts as social facilitator [68,69]. Studies of biological mechanisms underlying the human-animal bond and its stress-reducing effects have identified physiological indices for arousal and affiliative behaviors, e.g., lower cortisol and higher oxytocin levels after interacting with a pet as well as lowered blood pressure, reduced skin conductance and lower heart rate [70][71][72] and [73] for overview. ...
... Such a facilitating effect of dogs as "social catalysts" has been reported in previous research, e.g. [68,69] and links well to research with other participants groups (e.g., [30,31,33,70,78]. While individual and group interventions have been carried out in other areas within the health services with mixed evidence as to their efficacy, and as logistic difficulties in RCTs with individual and group interventions have been noted recently [80], it is important that future research investigates the dynamics of group interventions within AAI and the effect on cortisol and children's social, emotional and behavioral measures further. ...
... Finally, to address why dogs might have such beneficial effects on humans, the current evidence speaks in favor of social support and facilitation [68,69] with lower cortisol levels after intervention. Such reduction of stress levels after dog interventions may also be due to the dog creating a positive social atmosphere [e.g. ...
Article
Full-text available
Prolonged or excessive stress negatively affects learning, behavior and health across the lifespan. To alleviate adverse effects of stress in school children, stressors should be reduced, and support and effective interventions provided. Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) have shown beneficial effects on health and wellbeing, however, robust knowledge on stress mediation in children is lacking. Despite this, AAIs are increasingly employed in settings world-wide, including schools, to reduce stress and support learning and wellbeing. This study is the first randomized controlled trial to investigate dog-assisted interventions as a mediator of stress in school children with and without special educational needs (SEN) over the school term. Interventions were carried out individually and in small groups twice a week for 20 minutes over the course of 4 weeks. We compared physiological changes in salivary cortisol in a dog intervention group with a relaxation intervention group and a no treatment control group. We compared cortisol level means before and after the 4 weeks of interventions in all children as well as acute cortisol in mainstream school children. Dog interventions lead to significantly lower stress in children with and without special educational needs compared to their peers in relaxation or no treatment control groups. In neurotypical children, those in the dog interventions showed no baseline stress level increases over the school term. In addition, acute cortisol levels evidenced significant stress reduction following the interventions. In contrast, the no treatment control group showed significant rises in baseline cortisol levels from beginning to end of school term. Increases also occurred in the relaxation intervention group. Children with SEN showed significantly decreased cortisol levels after dog group interventions. No changes occurred in the relaxation or no treatment control groups. These findings provide crucial evidence that dog interventions can successfully attenuate stress levels in school children with important implications for AAI implementation, learning and wellbeing.
... De inkluderer hunder (f.eks. McNicholas & Collis, 2000), barn (f.eks. Cattell et al., 2008, s. 553;Henriksen & Tjora, 2014, s. 2119), hjelpeatferd (Gardner, 1986, felles opp-gaver og plikter (Henriksen & Tjora, 2014, s. 2119, lekfulle aktiviteter (f.eks. ...
... Videre bekrefter også studien min den allmenne erfaringen at hunder (f.eks. McNicholas & Collis, 2000) og barn (f.eks. Cattell et al., 2008, s. 553;Henriksen & Tjora, 2014, s. 2119) er utpregede kontaktskapere. ...
Article
Full-text available
Artikkelen befatter seg med tilfeldig interaksjon mellom byens fremmede. Slik interaksjon er et grunnleggende og ofte feiret trekk ved bylivet. Hvilke forhold som utløser kontakt av denne typen, har likevel sjelden blitt systematisk dokumentert. Artikkelen utforsker underliggende omstendigheter som bevirker tilfeldig, vennligsinnet interaksjon mellom fremmede i byens utendørs offentlige rom. Den bygger på mangeårig etnografisk feltarbeid i Oslo samt referansemateriale fra Argentina. Den presenterte studien viser at et bredt spekter av omstendigheter bevirker eller autoriserer slik samhandling, sortert under hovedtypene «eksponerte posisjoner», «åpningsposisjoner» og «gjensidig åpenhet». Her hviler studien på, underbygger og videreutvikler en mindre påaktet del av Goffmans banebrytende interaksjonssosiologi. Studiens funn peker mot en kontinuitet i og videre gyldighet av disse underliggende omstendighetene. Artikkelens hovedbidrag til forskningen på offentlige rom og sosial interaksjon er den utførlige, empirisk funderte kategoriseringen av omstendigheter som får byens fremmede til å samhandle på spontant, fredsommelig vis på offentlige steder. Derigjennom byr den også på noen lærdommer for samtidig byutvikling
... More recently, assistance dogs were utilised by Bould and colleagues [30] to pilot an individual dog-walking program in regional Victoria, Australia. The authors used evidence from the general population that walking with a pet dog fosters social interaction [31][32][33] and proposed that dogs could act as catalysts for the social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities [30]. A comparison of two groups in that study (those who went out with a dog compared to those who went out without a dog) showed there were significantly more encounters between participants and strangers when a dog was present. ...
... This finding supports previous research that co-presence of people in the community does not ensure interaction between them [9, [13][14][15][16]19]. Similar to research exploring the benefits of dogs for people with [28][29][30] and without disabilities [29,31,33], during the intervention phase, the dog acted as a catalyst for encounters. A range of community locations were selected by participants, and encounters in the intervention phase (when the dog was present) were found to be different to the baseline phase. ...
Article
Purpose: To evaluate a dog-walking program (called "Dog Buddies") designed to address the need for evidence-based programs that create opportunities for people with cognitive disabilities to be more socially included in mainstream society. The research question was: Does community dog walking foster social interaction for people with cognitive disabilities? Materials and methods: Single-case experimental design was used with four individuals (three with intellectual disability; one with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)) recruited via two disability service providers in Victoria. Target behaviours included frequency and nature of encounters between the person with disability and community members. Change was measured from baseline (five community meetings with a handler but no dog) to intervention period (five meetings minimum, with a handler and a dog). Semi-structured interviews, audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, provided three participants' subjective experiences of the program. Results: Dog Buddies increased the frequency of encounters for all participants. The presence of the dog helped to foster convivial encounters, community members were found to be more welcoming, and some participants were recognised or acknowledged by name over time in the intervention phase. Conclusions: The dog-walking program offered a simple means of influencing the frequency and depth of community-based social interactions for people with cognitive disabilities. Implications for rehabilitation: The co-presence of people with disabilities in the community with the general population does not ensure social interaction occurs. Both disability policy, and the programs or support that is provided to people with disabilities, needs to have a strong commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream communities. Dog Buddies is a promising example of a program where the presence of a pet dog has been demonstrated to support convivial, bi-directional encounters of people with cognitive disabilities and other community members. Dog-walking offers a simple means of influencing the frequency and depth of community-based social interactions for people with cognitive disabilities.
... Able-bodied people sometimes have difficulty starting or maintaining a conversation with people with some type of disability, and the presence of an assistance dog may facilitate the interaction. For example, McNicholas and Collis (2000) reported an increase in social interactions with strangers in a controlled setting in which neither the researcher nor their dog initiated the interaction. In a second experiment, this same effect was also observed when the physical appearances of the researcher and their dog were modified to look "rough". ...
... Having a pet can indeed act as an icebreaker to start a conversation, as every dog walker can attest. Pet ownership can also bring people with similar interests together and make them feel socially connected (McNicholas & Collis, 2000). In addition, companion animals are frequently considered sources of unconditional and non-judgemental emotional support, particularly in times when other sources are not available. ...
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.
... Explanations as to why dogs can have beneficial effects on humans are proposed by adapted and dynamic biopsychosocial models which integrate biological, physiological, psychological and social support (81)(82)(83)(84)(85)(86)(87), while others provide historical and social explanations [e.g., (88,89)]. Physiological indices for arousal and affiliative behaviors have been identified as biological mechanisms underlying the human-animal bond (e.g., lower stress levels as indicated by lower cortisol, higher oxytocin levels, lowered blood pressure, reduced skin conductance, lower heart rate; (59,(90)(91)(92)(93). Improved concentration, attention and motivation have been observed with the dog's presence creating a positive social atmosphere [for overview (90)]. ...
... on the stress-reducing and calming effects of both interventions, including the creation of a positive atmosphere, beneficial to learning, in dog-assisted interventions and relaxation interventions (82,83,85,86,89,90,92). Concerning specifically spatial ability tasks it should be highlighted that these involve working memory, which incorporates integrated systems of the central executive, phonological loop and visual-spatial sketchpad (100). ...
Article
Full-text available
Children's spatial cognition abilities are a vital part of their learning and cognitive development, and important for their problem-solving capabilities, the development of mathematical skills and progress in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) topics. As many children have difficulties with STEM topic areas, and as these topics have suffered a decline in uptake in students, it is worthwhile to find out how learning and performance can be enhanced at an early age. The current study is the first to investigate if dog-assisted and relaxation interventions can improve spatial abilities in school children. It makes a novel contribution to empirical research by measuring longitudinally if an Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) or relaxation intervention can boost children's development of spatial abilities. Randomized controlled trials were employed over time including dog intervention, relaxation intervention and no treatment control groups. Interventions were carried out over 4 weeks, twice a week for 20 min. Children were tested in mainstream schools ( N = 105) and in special educational needs (SEN) schools ( N = 64) before and after interventions, after 6 weeks, 6 months and 1 year. To assess intervention type and to provide advice for subsequent best practice recommendations, dog-assisted interventions were run as individual or small group interventions. Overall, children's spatial abilities improved over the year with highest increases in the first 4 months. In Study 1, typically developing children showed higher scores and more continuous learning overall compared to children with special educational needs. Children in the dog intervention group showed higher spatial ability scores immediately after interventions and after a further 6 weeks (short-term). Children in the relaxation group also showed improved scores short-term after relaxation intervention. In contrast, the no treatment control group did not improve significantly. No long-term effects were observed. Interestingly, no gender differences could be observed in mainstream school children's spatial skills. In study 2, children in SEN schools saw immediate improvements in spatial abilities after relaxation intervention sessions. No changes were seen after dog interventions or in the no treatment control group. Participants' pet ownership status did not have an effect in either cohort. These are the first findings showing that AAI and relaxation interventions benefit children's spatial abilities in varied educational settings. This research represents an original contribution to Developmental Psychology and to the field of Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) and is an important step towards further in-depth investigation of how AAI and relaxation interventions can help children achieve their learning potential, both in mainstream schools and in schools for SEN.
... One of the processes by which dogs influence well-being is through their role as social catalysts, given that dogs facilitate social interaction among humans; dogs increase interaction levels and nonverbal behaviors (Francis et al., 1985;McNicholas and Collis, 2000;Wells, 2004) and elicit higher rates of solicited and unsolicited helping behaviors from strangers (Guéguen and Ciccotti, 2008). In part, this effect might be based on dogs' ability to impart positive social attributes to the individuals they accompany (Wells, 2004;Guéguen and Ciccotti, 2008), e.g., dog ownership can be a signal of empathy and other emotional resources (Serpell and Paul, 2011). ...
... However, previous studies examined the dog-presence effect in general (i.e., without specifying the scenes; Wells and Perrine, 2001b;Knight and Edwards, 2008;Christian, Wood, et al., 2016), changing scenes (Rossbach and Wilson, 1992;McNicholas and Collis, 2000;Wells, 2004;Schneider and Harley, 2006), or in specific scenes (Wells and Perrine, 2001a;Perrine and Wells, 2006;Guéguen and Ciccotti, 2008;Tifferet et al., 2013;Pendry and Vandagriff, 2019) without considering the emotionality of the context. In other words, it is unknown whether the environment in which they assess the influence of dog presence is perceived as positive or negative by participants. ...
Article
We aimed to examine the role of dog presence in modulating human affective reactivity and sense of safety in emotional urban public spaces. College women (n=296) assessed valence, arousal, dominance, and safety in pictures depicting a man or a woman alone or accompanied by a small- or medium-sized dog in aversive and positive contexts. The results indicated that both dog sizes produce better assessments (i.e., higher valence, dominance, and sense of safety, and lower arousal) than the alone condition in high- and low- aversive (i.e., aversive/man and aversive/woman, respectively) and low-positive (i.e., positive/man) contexts. In highly positive contexts (i.e., positive/woman), the alone condition produces a similar assessment to small-sized dogs on arousal and dominance scales and medium-sized dogs on dominance and safety scales. When comparing dog sizes, small dogs produce better assessments in most emotional contexts. Those results overall indicated that dog presence itself (regardless of dog size) affects participants’ assessment in aversive and low-positive contexts; however, specific dog features such as size, rather than dog presence itself, are more important in high-positive contexts, indicating a ceiling effect. This study highlights the need to consider the emotionality of public settings when assessing the positive dog effect in scenes in which people are portrayed.
... Our finding that pet-related routines helped support medication management also mirrors prior studies demonstrating that youths' involvement and responsibility in caring for animals and household pets may translate to better management of their own health needs, particularly those requiring routines like daily medication (Maranda & Gupta, 2016;Maranda et al., 2015). Our findings also mirror those of previous studies that identify the importance of pets as non-judgmental confidants and stable sources of emotional support; multiple studies suggest that relationships and bonds with companion animals may help to ameliorate loneliness, remedy negative impacts of social isolation Graham & Glover, 2014;Krause-Parello et al., 2019;Wells, 2019;Wood et al., 2017), and promote social connection with other humans (McNicholas & Collis, 2000;McNicholas et al., 2005;Wood et al., 2005). ...
... An unexpected finding that emerged from our study was that nearly a quarter of participants reported that their pets were a barrier to the development of peer and family relationships. Our study highlights an underexplored area in emerging adult and HAI research; there have been many studies investigating the mechanisms through which pets may facilitate social interaction and the building of social networks (McNicholas & Collis, 2000;Wood et al., 2017), but few studies have investigated ways in which pets may create stress and disagreement among individuals. To our knowledge, the only study that has investigated this with an emerging adult population supported our findings in that some participants reported that their pet caused conflict in their relationships, particularly with their romantic partner (Graham et al., 2019). ...
Article
This qualitative study explores the benefits and risks associated with living with companion animals during the transition to adulthood among 117 sexual and gender minority (SGM) emerging adults living in the U.S. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using template analysis. Thematic analysis identified several risks (caregiver burden, pets as barriers to relationships, animal-related psychological stress) and benefits (pets as a buffer to stress, pets as social capital, pets as a coping mechanism for mental health, and pets as identity and purpose) associated with living with pets. Our results suggest that pets may influence emerging adult identity development and related wellbeing by facilitating feelings of belongingness, positive self-regard, and purpose; promoting social interactions; and providing emotional support and comfort to cope with stress. However, pets, and their associated care, were also a source of caregiving burden and psychological stress. We discuss practice and policy implications and directions for future research.
... Exercising the dog (e.g., walking), looking after the animal (e.g., feeding) and the presence of the dog were positive across all elements of eudaimonic well-being. Dog walking has been reported to give purpose in life and facilitate positive social relationships [9,59,60]. Caring for an animal can give owners routine, life structure and purpose [59,61,62], even potentially helping in suicide prevention [25,63]. Dog presence/company is an important social lubricant [60,[64][65][66] and is potentially a source of social support [45]. ...
... Caring for an animal can give owners routine, life structure and purpose [59,61,62], even potentially helping in suicide prevention [25,63]. Dog presence/company is an important social lubricant [60,[64][65][66] and is potentially a source of social support [45]. Interestingly, dog training led the rating score of most eudaimonic elements (e.g., environmental mastery, personal growth). ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... In the present study, we observed inmates' behaviours during AAI performed in a group with dogs, focusing especially on "social aspects" that could be linked to synchrony. AAI programs in jail are based on the assumption that a dog can be a social catalyst, i.e. facilitator of social interactions between humans (Messent, 1983) as observed in daily situations (Hunt et al., 1992;McNicholas & Collis, 2000), especially if they are trained especially (Eddy et al., 1988). However, given that in the present case each inmate was allocated one dog, we hypothesised that these animals would be a source and the centre of a ention, thereby potentially improving inmates' well-being (Brickel, 1982). ...
... Nevertheless, the dog handler was a target of some inmates' behaviours. One may argue that the social catalyst effect of a dog could then be involved (McNicholas & Collis, 2000). However, we must keep in mind the distinctive position of the dog handler, i.e. the person who knows the dogs and the inmates. ...
Article
Full-text available
Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) seem to offer promising possibilities to prevent daily conditions of inmates (overcrowding or social isolation); however, nothing is known either about the potential processes involved or impact AAI on the development of interactions between inmates. We hypothesized that either dogs would be a source and the centre of a ention, thereby that dog may induce more dog-inmate interactions, or dogs would be social catalyst, i.e. facilitator of social interactions between humans. For that, we analysed first one-hour AAI sessions involving 10 adult male inmates, 7 service dogs and one dog handler. An observer recorded, using ethological methods, spatial distances between dogs and inmates and between humans, direction of inmates' gazes and their vocal behaviour. Hypothesis that dogs could be social catalyst was not supported: each inmate interacted mainly with his own dog. Own dog was the almost only exclusive partner with whom they communicated: target of their visual gazes, vocal production and physical contact. Based on literature and this preliminary research, we suggested that the animal/human ratio could be a crucial factor influencing the quality and quantity of AAI interactions.
... Further, because simple language is used to work with AADS, children may gain rewarding interactive experiences that then scaffold socialization with other humans (Solomon, 2010). Broadly, these dogs may serve as social catalysts for their human partners by enhancing social interactions, increasing social networks, and reducing instances of social discrimination (Becker et al., 2017;Camp, 2001;Carlisle, 2015;Mader et al., 1989;McNicholas & Collis, 2000). ...
... Post-AAD (T2) thmann et al., 2009;Redefer & Goodman, 1989). Prior research has suggested that dogs are particularly adroit at eliciting prosocial behavior, acting as social catalysts with humans, as well as reducing physiological arousal and stress in children and adults (Fecteau et al., 2017;McNicholas & Collis, 2000;Viau et al., 2010). Consistent with these findings, our data show significant pre-/ post-AAD improvements for children on the AQ-Child, the CBCL (CBCL Total Problems; Anxious/Depressed, Social Problem, and Attention Problem Subscales; Internalizing and Externalizing Problem Composites), and the SRS-2 (SRS Total; Social Cognition, Social Communication, and Social Motivation Subscales). ...
Article
Full-text available
Autism-Assistance Dogs (AADs) are highly-skilled service animals trained primarily to ensure the safety of an autistic child by preventing elopement and mitigating ‘meltdowns’. Although anecdotal accounts and case-studies have indicated that AADs confer benefits above and beyond safety, empirical support anchored in validated clinical, behavioral, and physiological measures is lacking. To address this gap, we studied children and their families before and after receiving a well-trained AAD using a within-subject, repeated-measures design. Notably, this study is the first to assess change in a biomarker for chronic stress in both autistic children and their parents. Final analyses included pre-/post-AAD data from 11 triads (parent/handler-dog-child) demonstrating significantly positive psychosocial and biobehavioral effects of AADs.
... Companion animals somehow possess the ability to reconnect such people with the outside world, breaking down the barriers of isolation that make them refractory to conventional forms of treatment. The presence of an animal, particularly a dog, is able to act as an "ice-breaker": it catalyses communication and enhances opportunities for social exchange and shared interests which, in turn, can promote a feeling of social integration (McNicholas and Collis 2000), an aspect particularly important for children with atypical development and with physical disabilities and for people experiencing social discrimination and isolation. ...
... There is a large body of research investigating the beneficial role of pet ownership on human wellbeing. Domestic animals are often considered by their owners as family members and perceived as having an important role in one's wellbeing [5][6][7]. There is even evidence of the fact that the presence of pets has mitigated some of the detrimental psychological effects that COVID-19 lockdown has on humans' quality of life (QoL) [8]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic caused lifestyle changes, with unknown effect on pets’ quality of life (QoL). Between May and July 2020, we distributed an online survey to investigate the role of several factors on feline and canine QoL, including lockdown-related factors. We used existing scales to measure human and pets’ personalities (Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory Personality Questionnaire, RST-PQ; RST-Dog; RST-Cat) and the human–animal relationship (Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale, LAPS) and the Milan Pet Quality of Life instrument (MPQL). Overall, 235 participants reported about 242 adult pets (Ncats = 78, Ndogs = 164). Factor analysis confirmed the structure and internal reliability of the existing scales (RST-PQ, RST-Dog, RST-Cat, LAPS) and suggested a four-factor structure for the MPQL (physical, psychological, social, environmental). The results indicate that the pets’ psysical QoL was largely explained by pet-related elements (pets’ demographics and life experience, and pets’ personality). Conversely, the pets’ psychological QoL was explained mostly by owner-related elements, such as the owners’ demographics, COVID-19-related changes, and the owners’ personality. Predictably, the pets’ environmental QoL is mostly explained by environmental factors, such as the outdoor access in the home environment and the country. Finally, the pets’ social QoL was explained by the larger combination of models: pets’ characteristics and personality, environment and COVID-19-related changes, and the pet–human relationship. These findings can be explained by two non-mutually exclusive mechanisms. The reported changes may be a by-product of the COVID-19 pandemic’s psychological and lifestyle effects on the owners, which in turn alter the way the owners interact with their pets and look after them. However, the owners’ characteristics and mood may bias their answers regarding their pets.
... Dogs also demonstrate an ability to serve as a catalyst for human social interactions (Messent, 1983;Veevers, 1985). McNicholas and Collis (2000) found that humans are more social with strangers when a dog is present, which suggests that the presence of a dog for officer wellness may facilitate the process of seeking assistance by reducing social barriers. Colarelli et al. (2017) found that dogs in a group environment promote communication, collegiality, and cooperation, which are significant contributors to the organizational climate (Jones & James, 1979). ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... Los beneficios de las TAA han sido investigados en diversos trabajos: como la disminución de la presión sanguínea (Friedmann y Thomas, 1995;Odendaal y Lehmann, 2000), la disminución del estrés y la ansiedad (Barker, Knisely, McCain, Schubert, y Pandurangi, 2010;Haubenhofer y Kirchengast, 2007;Qureshi, Zeeshan, Vazquez, y Suri, 2009), el efecto de neurotransmisores y aumento en la hormona oxitocina (Odendaal, 2000;Odendaal y Meintjes, 2003), la facilitación de apoyo psicológico y social (McConnell, Brown, Shoda, Stayton, y Martin, 2011), la disminución de síntomas depresivos (Holcomb, Jendro, Weber, y Nahan, 1997;Tower y Nokota, 2006;Turner, Rieger, y Gygax, 2003), la mejora del autoestima y estado de ánimo (McConnell et al., 2011) y el aumento de la interacción social (Hunt, Hart, y Gomulkiewicz, 1992;McNicholas y Collis, 2000). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
La utilización de diversos animales para obtener cambios o mejoras en pacientes, estudiantes o personas usuarias de diferentes colectivos específicos de intervención psicosocial y sanitaria es cada vez más frecuente y reconocida. Existen diversas investigaciones con rigurosas metodologías que investigan las propiedades terapéuticas atribuidas al hecho de establecer vínculos con los animales. Los efectos positivos proceden de interaccionar con diferentes tipos de animales en terapia o actividades de diversa índole, pero también, incluso, de sólo observarlos. Beck y Katcher (2003) plantean que si existe un interés de las personas por los animales y esto aporta cosas positivas esto debe de ser utilizado. Sin embargo, debemos tener en cuenta que a pesar de la gran cantidad de investigaciones que avalan su eficacia, existe una escasa descripción metodológica de las Terapias Asistidas con Animales, así como la definición de los indicadores que posibilitan reproducir los estudios (Caravaca-Llamas y Sáez-Olmos, 2019). Este paradigma metodológico es lo que se conoce por las Intervenciones Asistidas con Animales (en adelante IAA), que a su vez prestan diferentes tipologías (Delta Society, 1992; IAHAIO, 2013; Kruger y Serpell, 2010): la Educación Asistida con Animales (EAA), las Actividades Asistidas con Animales (AAA) y las Terapias Asistidas con Animales (TAA). Aunque también encontramos referencias bajo la expresión Animal Facilitated Therapy (AFT) o uso terapéutico de las relaciones entre las personas y los animales no humanos para mejorar la salud emocional y física de las personas (Beck, 2000). En España también se suele emplear el término Terapia Asistida por Animales de Compañía (TAAC) que son intervenciones supervisadas y guiadas por profesionales de la disciplina donde se introduce en las sesiones a uno o varios animales de diversas formas con el objetivo de provocar efectos positivos en las personas usuarias o pacientes (Caravaca-Llamas, 2019). Estas intervenciones pueden ser realizadas tanto a nivel grupal como individual y los tipos de animales son muy diversos, tanto en las especies como en las características individuales. En concreto, la presente investigación ha utilizado la TAA en su modalidad con perros (caninoterapia).
... Further, the establishment of dog Keywords: Attitude, Dogs, Exercise, Intention, Pets, Public Health, Walking walking as a habit or routine has recently been suggested to be important in both qualitative [23] and quantitative research [25]. In contrast, although social interaction with other people with others is a common outcome of owning pets, in particular through going for a dog walk [26][27][28][29], qualitative research suggests it is not felt to be a key motivating factor for dog walking for most owners or can even demotivate walking if the owner wants to avoid interacting with other people or dogs for various reasons [23,30]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Dog walking is important for public health and dog welfare, yet some owners do not walk with their dogs regularly. This study examined factors associated with participation in regular dog walking and intention to dog walk, in order to inform physical activity interventions. Methods: 191 dog-owning adults from a UK community were surveyed about their participation in dog walking, intention to dog walk, attitudes and behavioural beliefs regarding dog walking, and dog and owner demographics. Principal components analysis identified owner profiles regarding attitudes and behavioural beliefs about dog walking. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression were used to identify factors associated with being a regular dog walker (achieving 150mins per week of dog walking) and having a high intention to dog walk (at least 30 mins per day for at least 5 days per week over the next month). Results: Participants walked with their dogs for a median 7 times/week and 230 total minutes/week; regular dog walkers 9 times/week (400 minutes/week), compared to twice/week for irregular dog walkers (45 minutes/week). Being a regular dog walker was positively associated with having a high level of intention to walk the dog in the next month (OR=12.1 95%CI=3.5-42.4, P<0.001), being married or living with a partner (OR=33.5, 95%CI=2.5-458.8, P=0.01), and higher scores on a dog walking habit index (OR=2.1, 95%CI=1.3-3.5, P<0.01). However, higher support from friends for walking was negatively associated with being a regular dog walker (OR=0.3, 95%CI=0.1-0.7, P<0.01). High intention to dog walk was associated with female owners (OR=4.7, 95%CI=1.2-18.5, P=0.03), dogs that lay on the sofa (OR=6.9, 95%CI=1.5-31.8, P=0.01), high levels of self-efficacy to walk the dog over the next month (OR=5.8, 95%CI=1.5-21.9, P=0.01), owner type with an attitude of high responsibility and enjoyment from walking (OR=2.1, 95%CI=1.2-3.8, P=0.02), and higher scores on a dog walking habit index (OR=1.9, 95%CI=1.0-3.7, P=0.05). Reporting someone else walks the dog was negatively associated with high intention (OR=0.1, 95%CI=0.0-0.7, P=0.02). Conclusions: Interventions to promote dog walking may benefit from increasing intention to dog walk in male owners, forming schedules and routines that involve multiple household members in dog walking, and establishing habits around dog walking. Interventions may also need to address how to overcome barriers and perceived challenges in regards to self-efficacy of dog walking, that may prevent intention from being translated into action.
... They can also decrease the anxiety-related arousal in patients waiting for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as well as pain in patients with fibromyalgia [14,15]. Assistance dogs can make patients with anxiety disorders feel safer, they facilitate social activity and reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness [16][17][18][19]. Previous studies confirmed that AAI may lead to short-term improvements in depression, anxiety and PTSD symptoms [20]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Few studies have explored the influence of an Animal-Assisted Intervention on patients with mental disorders. We investigated it’s impact on anxiety symptoms. We divided 51 patients with anxiety symptoms into two groups—treatment group, that went for a short 15–20 min’ walk with a dog, his handler and a researcher and control group, that went for a walk only with a researcher. We used State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) of fear, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Ford Insomnia Response to Stress (FIRST), Brief symptom Inventory (BSI) and VAS of satisfaction after trial to assess. We also checked the resting blood pressure and resting heart rate before and after performing psychological tests while sitting. We have obtained full data of 21 people from the research group and 26 people from the control group. After the intervention, the treatment group reported lower anxiety levels as a state (Mean (M) = 34.35; Standard Deviation (SD) = 6.9 vs. M = 40.94; SD = 8.6) and fear (M = 1.05; SD = 1.0 vs. M = 2.04; SD = 2.2) than the control group. After a walk with a dog, trait anxiety (M = 34.35; SD = 6.9 vs. M = 46.3; SD = 9.6), state anxiety (M = 48.9; SD = 7.2 vs. M = 53.9; SD = 7.8), fear (M = 1.05; SD= 1.0 vs. M = 2.57; SD = 2.3) and resting heart rate (M = 71.05; SD = 12.3 vs. M = 73.67; SD = 13.1) decreased significantly, while walking without a dog only reduced state anxiety (M = 47.24; SD = 11.0 vs. M = 40.94; SD = 8.6). Multivariate analysis of variance showed that after the walk, state anxiety was significantly lower in the treatment group than in the control group, F(1.35) = 6.706, p
... Spending less time than average walking dogs was also associated with higher loneliness, possibly because participants had fewer opportunities for social interaction (although this finding is dependent on self-report data which were not verified with the use of pedometers or activity trackers). Previous research conducted both prior to and during the pandemic corroborates the finding that dog walking is associated with increased social connectedness [58,[67][68][69], while numerous studies have demonstrated benefits associated with spending time in nature [70,71]. As having a greater level of responsibility for a dog presumably increases the likelihood of walking that dog, this would explain why more positive outcomes are associated with primary or shared responsibility of a dog, but not for cats or ornamental fishes. ...
Article
Full-text available
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, countries worldwide placed limitations on social interaction, which is anticipated to have severe psychological consequences. Although findings are inconsistent, prior research has suggested that companion animals may positively influence human well-being and reduce loneliness. In the context of COVID-19, this has important implications, as companion animal guardians may be less negatively affected by the pandemic. The primary aim of this research was to investigate the influence of companion animals on mental well-being and loneliness during the pandemic, with specific interest in the role of ornamental fishes. A mixed-methods study was conducted, using an international sample. Quantitative data were collected via an online survey (n = 1199) and analysed using robust hierarchical multiple regression analyses; the influence of level of engagement with companion animals was examined for dogs, cats and ornamental fishes. There was no evidence that companion animal guardianship was associated with loneliness and mental well-being during the pandemic but spending more time engaging physically or socially with dogs (and to a lesser extent cats) was generally associated with poorer outcomes. Qualitative data were collected through open-ended survey responses (n = 757) and semi-structured interviews (n = 25) and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Two themes were developed—one related to companion animals as providers of social and emotional support, and the other to companion animals as providers of purpose and perspective. Concerns regarding the impact of the pandemic on animal welfare were also identified. Compared to other animal types, more participants expressed indifference regarding the impact of their fishes on their well-being during the pandemic, possibly because fishes cannot provide comfort via physical touch. The findings of this study reflect the wider field of human–animal interaction; although qualitative data suggest guardians believe their companion animals are a positive influence in their lives, there is little convincing quantitative data to support these beliefs. This highlights the need to refine theories regarding which aspects of companion animal guardianship may influence human well-being; the findings from this research may be useful in the refinement of such theories.
... In many respects, dogs seemed to alleviate some of the stress of the pandemic on their human companions. Previous research suggests that dogs facilitate human social interactions [208], and during the pandemic, the majority of participants with dogs surveyed in a study in the USA reported that they socialized more often with others than did participants without dogs, presumably in part through walking the dog outside [209]. A similar study of Spanish dog owners showed that pet dogs (more so than other humans) served as social companions for their owners during pandemic lockdowns and that attachment to their pets among dog owners increased during this time [210]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The accelerated pace of research into Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) necessitates periodic summaries of current research. The present paper reviews virus susceptibilities in species with frequent human contact, and factors that are best predictors of virus susceptibility. Species reviewed were those in contact with humans through entertainment, pet, or agricultural trades, and for whom reports (either anecdotal or published) exist regarding the SARS-CoV-2 virus and/or the resulting disease state COVID-19. Available literature was searched using an artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted engine, as well as via common databases, such as Web of Science and Medline. The present review focuses on susceptibility and transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2, and polymorphisms in transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) that contribute to species differences. Dogs and pigs appear to have low susceptibility, while ferrets, mink, some hamster species, cats, and nonhuman primates (particularly Old World species) have high susceptibility. Precautions may therefore be warranted in interactions with such species, and more selectivity practiced when choosing appropriate species to serve as models for research.
... In the struggle against loneliness, at least during non-pandemic times, companion animals may also facilitate human interaction as social "icebreakers." Being accompanied by a dog has been linked to more frequent social interactions, and increases the likelihood of being trusted and receiving help [23,31]. Service dogs substantially reduce the tendency of able-bodied people to ignore or avoid people with disabilities [32]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The mental and physical human costs of social isolation and loneliness—and their possible amelioration through human–animal interaction (HAI)—have both received intense attention since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its lockdowns, quarantines, and related mitigation measures. Concern about society’s “loneliness epidemic”, however, predates the pandemic, as does serious inquiry into HAI as a positive intervention. Recognizing the potential of companion animals to make a difference on an important public health issue, the Consortium on Social Isolation and Companion Animals—a novel partnership of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Mars Petcare—launched a joint initiative in 2019 to advance HAI research, address barriers to HAI, and support best practices in bringing together animals and people to ease loneliness. Beginning with a first-ever summit of multidisciplinary thought leaders, this collaboration has already yielded actionable insights and research projects. As a novel partnership initiative in the HAI field, it offers a promising model for future cross-disciplinary forward thinking to elevate HAI for the mutual benefit of companion animals and their welfare, as well as vulnerable human populations.
... Several studies showed that feeling lonely and socially excluded could be decreased or even prevented by raising a pet [32,33], reducing the daily stresses with an eventual reduction in depression and anxiety [34]. Various interventions implementing what is called "pet therapy" obtained by just owning a pet in an attempt to prevent loneliness and decrease the feeling of social abandonment [31,35]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Besides being funny and giving a sense of companionship, owning a pet in your household could have some magical influences on its owners' health. A pet will help to reduce anxiety levels, improving physical activity persistence, and enhance social interaction. Owing a Pet had its influence on physical and mental health, as previous studies showed its contribution to modulating mental illness, reducing cardiovascular problems, improving the outcomes of many mental diseases such as depression, and being a helpful therapy for parkinsonian patients. Declaring the benefits of pet ownership and discussing its effects on various health aspects allows more enlightening of pets' role in boosting our mental and physical health. Several studies have been conducted to test those findings and provide scientific evidence. In this review, we aimed at exploring and discussing some of the benefits obtained by pet ownership and the roles that pets could play in enhancing physical and mental well-being.
... They include dogs (e.g. McNicholas and Collis, 2000;; children (e.g. Cattell et al., 2008: 553;Henriksen andTjora, 2014: 2119); helping behaviour ; common tasks and responsibilities (Henriksen andTjora, 2014: 2119); playful occurrences (e.g. ; and more significant public events like celebrations . ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Peaceful interaction among diverse strangers in public spaces is a much-celebrated feature of urbanity. The rise in privately owned and managed public spaces, tending to displace people, activities and exchanges that may discomfort target groups, has thus raised broad concerns. However, how such ‘new’, prestigious public spaces differ from ‘traditional’, everyday ones in terms of interaction among strangers, has rarely been carefully examined. This dissertation examines peaceful chance interactions among strangers in two contrasting ideal types of public space. It primarily draws on extensive observation and categorization of activities and encounters in a selection of squares and adjoining spaces in central Oslo, Norway plus reference material from Argentina. The investigation reveals that in the two main study sites, representing ‘traditional’ (Grønland) and ‘new’ (Tjuvholmen) public space, strangers interact on a regularized, recurrent versus a more infrequent, episodic basis, reflecting the presence or absence of prompting circumstances. A close reading of the international literature indicates that these findings have a broader, more general significance. Herein, the study points to an important shift in urban governance and planning. In this shift, a conventional notion of attractiveness in the physical and social environment takes centre stage in prestigious urban developments at the expense of the disordered exchanges of everyday life.
... Inclusion of animals by health or human service professionals is increasingly common and is associated with positive general medical and psychological benefits (14,15). AAIs have been theorized to promote client engagement by enhancing the relationship between the client and the AAI practitioner, with some studies reporting increased direct social interaction between the client and practitioner in the presence of animals (16)(17)(18). Therapists who use animals in behavioral or mental health services may be perceived as less threatening, which can reduce barriers to client engagement (19), prompt clients to be more authentic and present (20,21), boost clients' sense of safety in the intervention space (22), and increase clients' motivation to attend therapy sessions (23). A comprehensive, evidence-based understanding of how AAIs affect engagement in behavioral and mental health services is needed to optimize their clinical effects. ...
Article
Objective: Client engagement in behavioral and mental health services has been strongly linked to improved outcomes and treatment completion. Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are increasingly used to improve client engagement, for example, by involving a dog in therapy to support a client's sense of safety. Although existing research suggests that human-animal interactions may promote engagement, further research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms, identify procedures needed for treatment fidelity, and determine the populations in which this intervention would be most effective. The aim was to identify the existing knowledge base to inform future research and practice in these areas. Methods: A review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines to answer three questions: What research has been completed regarding the use of animals to affect client engagement, including measurement of potential processes of change? How have interventions that use animals been structured and protocolized? How is engagement operationally defined by these studies? Results: Ten studies were identified for review. Preliminary evidence indicates that AAIs may support client engagement in behavioral and mental health services. A wide range of conceptualizations in which populations and settings could benefit from AAIs were identified, but it remains unclear who would benefit most. The review did not substantively address the efficacy of AAIs for increasing engagement or factors that may drive engagement. Conclusions: Further research is needed to quantify the impact of AAIs on service engagement and to identify mechanisms of change.
... Our findings contribute a greater understanding of the benefits and challenges of having a pet in the adolescent years from an underexplored perspective-the parent's point of view. Most of our findings corroborated prior research self-reported from the child's point of view that pets are a source of companionship (and are often viewed as a member of the family) [46], offering them a way to learn responsibility [47], and are a bridge to more comfortable social interactions with family members and friends [48,49]. In terms of emotional support, parents perceived that the pets not only provided their adolescent comfort when lonely but also when experiencing a range of negative emotions from anger to grief. ...
Article
Full-text available
Adolescence is a prime developmental period to explore human–pet relationships, particularly given that teens are often relying less on their families, and more on other attachment figures such as peers and pets. However, most research on pet companionship is conducted with adults and young children. Moreover, lived experiences around having pets in households with adolescents are underexplored, particularly from parents’ perspectives. This qualitative interview study of 31 parents/guardians in the Northeast U.S. explored perceptions of the benefits and challenges of having pets for their adolescent’s well-being as well as how adolescents affected their pet’s well-being. Our three main themes for perceived benefits of pets included social (e.g., reducing anxiety), physical (e.g., screen time companionship), and emotional (e.g., regulation of difficult emotions such as anger, loneliness). Challenges to adolescent well-being included such social topics as family tension around unevenly shared responsibilities, physical themes such as problematic animal behaviors, and emotional themes related to grieving the passing of pets. We offer a developmental systems approach to understanding pets within adolescent families, noting future directions for developing family interventions to improve pet–adolescent interactions given the demands of child and pet upbringing during adolescence.
... Besides these established circumstantial factors, the field of human-animal relations has investigated the well-being effects of having a dog. It is known that having a dog usually promotes physical activity, provides company [16], and facilitates interaction with other people in the outdoors [17]. Although the current evidence for the overall well-being effects of having a dog has been found mixed or inconsistent in general populations [16,18], it is a compelling idea that social aspects of having a dog might be more important for the well-being of people living alone. ...
Article
Full-text available
Living alone has become more common across Europe. Past research has consistently identified living alone as a risk factor for poor mental health while evidence on the positive dimension(s) of mental health has been scarce. Positive mental health has been associated with rather stable circumstantial factors, such as socio-economic characteristics and social relationships, and day-to-day activities in the form of leisure participation, in general populations. In this study, our objective was to assess these relationships among people living alone. We specified a structural equation model in a random sample of Finnish people living alone (n = 884), with the circumstantial factors as (exogenous) explanatory variables, participation in various leisure activities as mediators, and positive mental health as the outcome. In the model, more frequent engagement in several leisure-time activities, including being in contact with family/friends and physical activity in nature, were positively associated with positive mental health. The circumstantial factors that most strongly explained both leisure participation and positive mental health were the number of friends, being in a relationship, and having no limiting illnesses. In conclusion, among Finnish people living alone, social and functional factors appear to be more strongly associated with leisure participation and positive mental health than socio-economic factors.
... Notably, some studies have that shown autistic children undergo a reduction in salivary cortisol levels in the presence of trained service dogs Viau et al., 2010). Moreover, assistancedogs, trained for individuals with various disabilities, may serve as social catalysts, enhancing social interactions, increasing social networks, and reducing instances of social discrimination (Becker, Rogers, & Burrows, 2017;Camp, 2001;Carlisle, 2015;Mader, Hart, & Bergin, 1989;McNicholas & Collis, 2000). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Autism-Assistance Dogs (AADs) are highly-skilled service animals trained primarily to ensure the safety of an autistic child by preventing elopement and mitigating “meltdowns”. Whereas families with AADs attest anecdotally to the psychosocial and behavioral benefits of their dogs above and beyond safety, quantitative, empirical support for these reports is lacking. The present study investigated the effects of well-trained AADs using validated clinical, behavioral, and physiological measures. We recruited families (N=13) from the top of an accredited training dog organization’s wait-list for AADs and collected pre/post-AAD data using a within subject, repeated measures design. Our findings demonstrate that, in addition to enhancing child outcomes, the integration of well-trained AADs can impact families positively across multiple domains of health and function.
... Companion animals may satisfy the basic human need for loving and being loved even in a more "essentialized" way as compared to human partners, as they do not judge their human partners looks, wealth, health, intelligence, or political orientation. Furthermore, companion animals may function as social lubricants/catalysts, promoting social contacts between humans (Eddy et al., 1988;Mader et al., 1989;McNicholas and Collis, 2000) and may socially support their human partners by backing and comforting them in demanding situations (Vagnoli et al., 2015;Crossman et al., 2018;Krause-Parello et al., 2018;McCullough et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Dogs are becoming increasingly popular in pedagogical settings. Particularly children with special educational needs are believed to benefit from dog-assisted interventions. However, reliable evidence for supporting such claims is still scarce and reports on the effectiveness of this approach are often anecdotal. With our review we aim at evaluating the literature to answer the question, whether dog-assisted interventions in an educational setting can help children with special educational needs to improve and to develop their emotional, social and cognitive skills. Following the PRISMA Guidelines, the literature was systematically searched for experimental studies until February 2021. Eighteen studies were finally included, which varied greatly in type of intervention, outcomes measured, sample sizes, and scientific quality, which precluded a formal meta-analysis. Hence, we resorted to a narrative synthesis. Overall, the studies report mixed results in the different functional domains of stress reduction, motivation, social skills, cognitive abilities, reading abilities, social conduct, and mental wellbeing. No study reported any negative effects of the intervention. The most unequivocal evidence comes from studies on dogs’ effects on physiological stress response in challenging situations and on motivation and adherence to instructions, reporting significantly lower levels of cortisol in both children and pedagogues in the presence of dogs, as well as increased motivation to learn and participate. Findings for other outcomes, academic or social, however, remain inconclusive. Data on long-term effects are lacking altogether. Still, this review indicates the potentials of dog-assisted interventions in special pedagogy, particularly towards supporting a calm and trustful social atmosphere.
... We may feel more positively inclined towards an elderly person who kindly gives sweets to a child than to someone wealthy who gives substantial funds to a major charity, even though the outcome in the former case may not be all that positive and, in the latter, may make a substantial contribution to people's lives. We even feel more comfortable talking to a stranger who displays their caring nature through owning a pet dog than we would if they were by themselves, for example (McNicholas and Collis 2000). By this small acknowledgement of their emotional need for a pet, they seem more trustworthy. ...
Book
Full-text available
In Hidden Depths, Professor Penny Spikins explores how our emotional connections have shaped human ancestry. Focusing on three key transitions in human origins, Professor Spikins explains how the emotional capacities of our early ancestors evolved in response to ecological changes, much like similar changes in other social mammals. For each transition, dedicated chapters examine evolutionary pressures, responses in changes in human emotional capacities and the archaeological evidence for human social behaviours. Starting from our earliest origins, in Part One, Professor Spikins explores how after two million years ago, movement of human ancestors into a new ecological niche drove new types of collaboration, including care for vulnerable members of the group. Emotional adaptations lead to cognitive changes, as new connections based on compassion, generosity, trust and inclusion also changed our relationship to material things. Part Two explores a later key transition in human emotional capacities occurring after 300,000 years ago. At this time changes in social tolerance allowed ancestors of our own species to further reach out beyond their local group and care about distant allies, making human communities resilient to environmental changes. An increasingly close relationship to animals, and even to cherished possessions, appeared at this time, and can be explained through new human vulnerabilities and ways of seeking comfort and belonging. Lastly, Part Three focuses on the contrasts in emotional dispositions arising between ourselves and our close cousins, the Neanderthals. Neanderthals are revealed as equally caring yet emotionally different humans, who might, if things had been different, have been in our place today. This new narrative breaks away from traditional views of human evolution as exceptional or as a linear progression towards a more perfect form. Instead, our evolutionary history is situated within similar processes occurring in other mammals, and explained as one in which emotions, rather than ‘intellect’, were key to our evolutionary journey. Moreover, changes in emotional capacities and dispositions are seen as part of differing pathways each bringing strengths, weaknesses and compromises. These hidden depths provide an explanation for many of the emotional sensitivities and vulnerabilities which continue to influence our world today.
... We may feel more positively inclined towards an elderly person who kindly gives sweets to a child than to someone wealthy who gives substantial funds to a major charity, even though the outcome in the former case may not be all that positive and, in the latter, may make a substantial contribution to people's lives. We even feel more comfortable talking to a stranger who displays their caring nature through owning a pet dog than we would if they were by themselves, for example (McNicholas and Collis 2000). By this small acknowledgement of their emotional need for a pet, they seem more trustworthy. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
In Hidden Depths, Professor Penny Spikins explores how our emotional connections have shaped human ancestry. Focusing on three key transitions in human origins, Professor Spikins explains how the emotional capacities of our early ancestors evolved in response to ecological changes, much like similar changes in other social mammals. For each transition, dedicated chapters examine evolutionary pressures, responses in changes in human emotional capacities and the archaeological evidence for human social behaviours. Starting from our earliest origins, in Part One, Professor Spikins explores how after two million years ago, movement of human ancestors into a new ecological niche drove new types of collaboration, including care for vulnerable members of the group. Emotional adaptations lead to cognitive changes, as new connections based on compassion, generosity, trust and inclusion also changed our relationship to material things. Part Two explores a later key transition in human emotional capacities occurring after 300,000 years ago. At this time changes in social tolerance allowed ancestors of our own species to further reach out beyond their local group and care about distant allies, making human communities resilient to environmental changes. An increasingly close relationship to animals, and even to cherished possessions, appeared at this time, and can be explained through new human vulnerabilities and ways of seeking comfort and belonging. Lastly, Part Three focuses on the contrasts in emotional dispositions arising between ourselves and our close cousins, the Neanderthals. Neanderthals are revealed as equally caring yet emotionally different humans, who might, if things had been different, have been in our place today. This new narrative breaks away from traditional views of human evolution as exceptional or as a linear progression towards a more perfect form. Instead, our evolutionary history is situated within similar processes occurring in other mammals, and explained as one in which emotions, rather than ‘intellect’, were key to our evolutionary journey. Moreover, changes in emotional capacities and dispositions are seen as part of differing pathways each bringing strengths, weaknesses and compromises. These hidden depths provide an explanation for many of the emotional sensitivities and vulnerabilities which continue to influence our world today.
... A separate group of publications concerns the use of dogs in uniformed services [6,13]. Dog ownership goes far beyond physical benefits of the owner [2,4,8,9,15,22]. The dog is often described in the scientific literature as a family member [3,24,37]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of the study was to determine the profile of people practising mantrailing on the territory of Poland. The study covered people who practice or have practiced mantrailing – members of the group „Mantrailing Poland”. The scientific method applied was a diagnostic survey – a questionnaire consisting of questions designed by the authors. People interested in mantrailing in Poland are a relatively young and well-educated group, the vast majority come from the city. In the case of tracking, the predominance of women in dog-related activities is also confirmed. The main motives for practising tracking in Poland are determining the needs, predispositions and activity of the dog and the desire to learn about its performance directly in the field. It is not, however, about passing exams and obtaining certificates in tracking, or the aspect of competition. The list of breeds with which people practise mantrailing is extremely varied with no strict list of breeds that they consider preferable for this form of recreation. The main inhibitors of tracking in Poland are financial resources and lack of time.
Thesis
Dans le système éducatif français, l’apprenant se retrouve un parmi d’autres élèves. Il est parfois difficile pour certains d’entre eux d’adopter et acquérir les codes nécessaires au déroulement d’une scolarité ordinaire. Il existe alors des structures capables de les accueillir, afin de leur proposer une autre forme de prise en charge, comme les ITEP . Cette recherche (CIFRE) s’est inscrite dans un travail collaboratif entre un ITEP, un établissement de formation aux métiers du social, une Fondation et une Université. Cette collaboration a vu le jour à partir d’un premier constat partagé : dans certains contextes, la problématique de l’apaisement des tensions au sein du groupe, le manque de cohésion et d’entraide ou l’absence de respect de l’autre bloquent les apprentissages et sont des enjeux pour les professionnels. Pour répondre à cela, certains acteurs du secteur social manifestent un intérêt probant face à l’introduction d’un animal dans leurs pratiques professionnelles. Au travers d’un cadre théorique ancré en psychologie sociale, cette recherche, porte sur l’étude de l’introduction d’un dispositif de médiation par l’animal au sein de groupes en ITEP. D’une part elle permet d’étudier les représentations de professionnels du secteur social, médico-social et éducatif, novices ou expérimentés sur l’objet « médiation animale », d’autre part, il est envisagé qu’en introduisant ce dispositif, la dimension contextuelle sera modifiée ce qui entraînera des répercussions sur les dimensions relationnelles et instrumentales.Les résultats proviennent d’analyses de questionnaires, d’entretiens, d’observations et de l’étude de carnets de bord. Ils montrent, au travers de deux enquêtes, d’une part, les différences de définitions de cet objet de représentation et l’importance de replacer l’animal et le professionnel dans ce dispositif, perçu comme innovant, au travers de sa dénomination « médiation par l’animal ». D’autre part, il révèle, que dans le contexte étudié, l’intérêt de ce type de médiation favorise une dynamique au sein du groupe. Ces résultats sont concluants pour les professionnels qui, en accédant aux dimensions du groupe, accèdent aux apprentissages.
Article
Given the high prevalence and severe consequences of childhood sexual abuse, it is essential to identify ways to support adult survivors. One potential and relatively unexplored resource available to survivors is the human-pet relationship. In the literature, the human-pet relationship is linked to many positive benefits to physiological regulation, mental health, physical health, and social support – areas of functioning where survivors of childhood sexual abuse may be particularly at risk. Despite existing evidence, there is little research on human-pet relationships among survivors of childhood sexual abuse. To help address this gap, this qualitative study explored the lived experience of human-pet relationships among adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Utilizing data collection and analysis methods from Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The following themes were developed from the data: (a) close bond with pet; (b) idiosyncrasies within the human-pet relationship; (c) moral responsibility; (d) fundamental differences between pets and humans; (e) safety in the human-pet relationship; (f) resource for coping with painful experience; (g) positive impact on well-being; (h) buttress for human-human social interaction; (i) medium for skill and knowledge development; and (j) shortcomings of the human-pet relationship. Findings are discussed in the context of the existing literature, along with considerations for practice and future research with childhood sexual abuse survivors.
Article
Full-text available
Despite the abundance of studies investigating the benefits of having a dog, the specific aspects of dog ownership that impacts human well-being are not well understood. This study used a qualitative approach to create a framework of the main dog-related activities perceived by Brazilian owners to impact their well-being and compared the findings with those of a similar study in England. Thirty-two Brazilian dog owners from the five regions of the country were remotely interviewed. The thematic analysis of the transcripts generated a total of 58 dog-related activities, organised into 13 themes. Most activities were reported to have a positive effect on participants’ well-being, accounting for 76.8% of the total number of mentions in the interviews. ‘Playing with dog’ and ‘Dog presence’ were the themes most frequently associated with positive well-being outcomes, whereas ‘Unwanted behaviours’ and ‘Failing to meet dog's needs’ were the most commonly associated with negative outcomes. The dog-related activities reported by Brazilian dog owners and the well-being outcomes linked to those activities were consistent with the previous British sample in the framework that emerged. These findings suggest reliability between the two methods used to gather data (remote interview versus focus group) and, most importantly, provide consistent cross-cultural evidence for how certain activities impact dog owner’s well-being.
Article
Full-text available
The question of pet ownership contributing to human well-being has received mixed empirical evidence. This contrasts with the lay intuition that pet ownership contributes positively to wellness. In a large representative sample, we investigate the differences that may exist between pet vs. non-pet owners in terms of their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, and examine among different sociodemographic strata, for whom pet ownership can be more vs. less beneficial. A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted among Canadian adults (1220 pet owners, 1204 non-pet owners). Pet owners reported lower well-being than non-pet owners on a majority of well-being indicators; this general pet ownership effect held when accounting for pet species (dogs, cats, other species) and number of pets owned. Compared to owners of other pets, dog owners reported higher well-being. When examining the effect of pet ownership within different socioeconomic strata, being a pet owner was associated with lower well-being among: women; people who have 2 + children living at home; people who are unemployed. Our results offer a counterpoint to popular beliefs emphasising the benefits of pets to human wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic and confirm the importance of accounting for sociodemographic factors to further understand the experience of pet ownership.
Article
The formative work of Jane Jacobs underscores the combination of “eyes on the street” and trust between residents in deterring crime. Nevertheless, little research has assessed the effects of residential street monitoring on crime due partly to a lack of data measuring this process. We argue that neighborhood-level rates of households with dogs captures part of the residential street monitoring process core to Jacobs’ hypotheses and test whether this measure is inversely associated with property and violent crime rates. Data from a large-scale marketing survey of Columbus, OH, USA residents (2013; n = 43,078) are used to measure census block group-level (n = 595) rates of households with dogs. Data from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context study are used to measure neighborhood-level rates of trust. Consistent with Jacobs’ hypotheses, results indicate that neighborhood concentration of households with dogs is inversely associated with robbery, homicide, and, to a less consistent degree, aggravated assault rates within neighborhoods high in trust. In contrast, results for property crime suggest that the inverse association of dog concentration is independent of levels of neighborhood trust. These associations are observed net of controls for neighborhood sociodemographic characteristics, temporally lagged crime, and spatial lags of trust and dog concentration. This study offers suggestive evidence of crime deterrent benefits of local street monitoring and dog presence and calls attention to the contribution of pets to other facets of neighborhood social organization.
Article
Introduction: Assistance dogs are trained to support persons living with disability and mitigate limitations that hinder their participation in everyday activities. Despite participation being a frequent challenge for people with disabilities, evidence linking assistance dog provision to improved participation outcomes is underdeveloped. This scoping review aimed to improve understanding by mapping the participation outcomes claimed in research on assistance dogs using the International Classification of Functioning (ICF), Disability and Health framework. Methods: Using the Arksey and O'Malley's six-step framework, this scoping review searched six databases. Data were collected, mapped and summarised in accordance with the domains outlined in the ICF. Results: In total, 38 studies across 41 papers met the inclusion criteria. Included studies investigated assistance dogs who were partnered with people living with physical disabilities, mental illness, autism and chronic conditions that require alerting (e.g., epilepsy and diabetes). Mapping of participation outcomes suggested that assistance dogs can have a positive impact on participation in many areas of daily life. Conclusion: Findings can assist practitioners, funders and policymakers to recognise the value of assistance dogs as a support for people with disability. However, further research is needed to address limitations regarding study designs, for example, the outcome measures used.
Chapter
Tiere und vor allem Pferde haben nachweislich eine positive Wirkung auf Menschen. Dabei kann es sich außerdem um Hunde, Delfine, aber auch um Vögel und viele weitere Tierarten handeln. Da es in diesem Buch um das pferdegestützte Coaching geht, wird nachfolgend nur auf Pferde eingegangen. Selbstverständlich sind die positiven Effekte anderer Tiere ebenso wichtig und sollten natürlich gleichermaßen beachtet werden.
Chapter
Das Coaching mit Pferden zählt zu den tiergestützten Coachings. Es kann als Interaktion zwischen Mensch, Pferd und der eigenen Persönlichkeit betrachtet werden. Pferde spiegeln das menschliche Verhalten und die Emotionen, wodurch der Coach verschiedene Themen mit dem Klienten analysieren kann. Konir (2012) spricht von „einer persönlichen Weiterentwicklung und Selbsterkenntnis mit dem Pferd als Partner“ (S. 16). Dabei führen die Klienten, die keine Erfahrung im Umgang mit Pferden benötigen, ein oder zwei Pferde beispielsweise durch einen Parcours oder arbeiten frei in der Arena mit den Tieren, ohne zu reiten.
Article
Full-text available
Mental health problems and suicide are more frequent in autistic adults than general population. Dog ownership can improve human well-being. This study aimed to generate a framework of well-being outcomes for dog-related activities in autistic adults and compare it to the framework generated for a general adult population. Thirty-six autistic dog owners (18–74 years old, 18 males) from diverse UK regions were interviewed and transcripts thematically analysed. 16.7% reported that their dogs prevented them from taking their own lives, mainly due to the dog's affection and the need to care for the animal. Close dog-owner interactions (e.g., cuddling, walking, dog's presence) were the most frequent activities improving emotions/moods and life functioning, whereas routine-like activities (e.g., feeding the animal) particularly enhanced life functioning. Well-being worsening was mainly linked to dog behaviour problems, dog poor health/death and obligations to the dog. Despite some negatives associated with ownership, having a dog could improve the well-being of many autistic adults and assist suicide prevention strategies in this high-risk group. The framework was consistent with that generated previously, indicating its robustness and the potential opportunity to focus on dog-related activities rather than the vague concept of “ownership” when considering the impact of ownership on well-being.
Article
Human-dog interactions have a positive effect on human sociality and health. The relationship with dogs helps humans to cope with stress during an emotionally challenging period, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, a growing global interest in pets has been registered, including the volunteering for shelter/stray dog protection. However, a considerable increase of human dysfunctional interventions toward dogs has been observed in Southern Italy. In this study, we investigated the psychological characteristics of humans volunteering at animal shelter or engaged in stray dog protection. The effect of psychological training and education about dog ethological needs on volunteers' helping behavior was also analyzed. We report that the intervention can improve volunteers' physiological features and, consequently, may enhance human management and dog welfare.
Article
Full-text available
A facility dog in a school is a comparatively recent category of working dog. These dogs typically are trained at the assistance, or service dog, level and are thoroughly prepared for their role. The school facility dog accompanies an owner/handler, who is a professional employee of the school, to work on a regular basis. Research on human-canine interaction indicates that positive interactions between young children and dogs can improve learners’ academic performance, their attitudes toward school, the relationships they build with others, and their emotional wellbeing. This article begins with a definition for a facility dog, describes an exemplary dog training program that prepares facility dogs for schools, and explains the interprofessional partnerships that are essential for success. Next, we review the research to provide a rationale for bringing children and dogs together in educational contexts. The remainder of the article guides educators in planning for the facility dog’s arrival and involving the facility dog in a wide range of activities that support the school’s mission and goals.
Article
This study aims to elucidate the human approach to development, in particular from the Human Scale Development theory, and to investigate the positive effects arising from the relationship between humans and animals in order to combine them with human development. The theory of Human Scale Development presented itself as a paradigm shift by advocating the protagonism of the human being during the development process. The natural and intuitive bond formed between people and their pets started to intrigue researchers around the world, giving rise to a series of scientific evidence that point to beneficial effects of this relationship. Pets have been found to have the ability to contribute in many ways to the well-being of their guardians. This article is part of the dissertation entitled “The interfaces of the relationship between human beings and pets from the perspective of human development”, presented to the Postgraduate Program in Local Development at Universidade Católica Dom Bosco. The research has a qualitative approach, which employs the inductive method and, as to the objectives, it is an exploratory research combined with a literature review and document analysis. In conclusion, the bond between humans and pets can represent a human development factor.
Article
An increasing number of children's hospitals feature full-time resident facility dogs, which are specially trained to work alongside pediatric healthcare professionals to improve the patient experience. This qualitative study aimed to describe the role that facility dogs play in the lives of patients, families, and hospital staff. A total of N = 73 pediatric healthcare professionals that worked with 46 facility dogs across 17 children's hospitals in the US completed a set of open-ended questions in an online survey. Responses were analyzed via a conventional thematic analysis and organized into themes and sub-themes. Facility dogs were described to benefit pediatric healthcare professionals' daily lives through improving stress and wellbeing, staff relationships, and job-related morale. Negative impacts included increased burdens and responsibilities in the workplace. Facility dogs were also described to benefit patients and families by helping build rapport, providing a comforting presence and positive resource, and normalizing the hospital environment. In conclusion, facility dog programs were found to be a promising complementary intervention to benefit both staff as well as and patients and families. Future research is warranted to examine short-term and long-term implications of facility dog programs for staff, patient, and family wellbeing.
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to approach Pet therapy as a therapeutic modality capable of promoting a greater humanization of patient care, acting as an effective tool in the treatment of the assisted, emphasizing the necessary care for the use of the dog in the hospital environment. The humanization of health, now well discussed, supports initiatives aimed at transforming the hospital environment. It is believed that, through small actions, we can ease the pain of many, contribute to the success of the treatments and decrease the length of hospitalization. Pet therapy, supported by a multidisciplinary team, has assisted children and adults hospitalized for different pathologies, cardiac patients, psychiatric patients with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, AIDS, cerebral palsy, stroke, cancer, among others. Even in the face of the worldwide trend and recognition of the importance of therapy, the implementation of projects has still been hampered by the lack of studies that demonstrate the impact of the dog in the hospital environment. The lack of knowledge about the risks inherent to the therapy, especially regarding the transmission of diseases, as well as the lack of protocols with specific norms for its implantation, are some of the obstacles for a greater dissemination of the technique.
Article
Full-text available
A 10-month prospective study was carried out which examined changes in behaviour and health status in 71 adult subjects following the acquisition of a new pet (either dogs or cats). A group of 26 subjects without pets served as a comparison over the same period. Both pet-owning groups reported a highly significant reduction in minor health problems during the first month following pet acquisition, and this effect was sustained in dog owners through to 10 months. The pet-acquiring groups also showed improvements in their scores on the 30-item General Health Questionnaire over the first 6 months and, in dog owners, this improvement was maintained until 10 months. In addition, dog owners took considerably more physical exercise while walking their dogs than the other two groups, and this effect continued throughout the period of study. The group without pets exhibited no statistically significant changes in health or behaviour, apart from a small increase in recreational walking. The results provide evidence that pet acquisition may have positive effects on human health and behaviour, and that in some cases these effects are relatively long term.
Article
Recent findings have led researchers to believe that our pets may do more for us than we think. A dog's presence may even make a person appear more likable. Two studies were conducted to test this hypothesis. In the first study, 34 subjects viewed photographs of people pictured alone, pictured with a dog, and pictured with flowers. The subjects were asked to rate the person in the photos with regard to four dimensions: approachability, happy looking, relaxed looking, and best photo. The central finding revealed that photos of individuals pictured with a dog were rated higher than photos of individuals pictured without a dog. In the second study 45 subjects were asked to view three types of slides. The three slides consisted of outdoor scenery, a person walking through the outdoor scene, and a person walking a dog through the outdoor scene. Subjects were asked to rate the slides against each other with regard to several aesthetic dimensions, which included easiest to gaze at and best photo. In addition, subjects were asked how they perceived the person photographed with respect to happiness, relaxed looking, and safety. Finally, subjects were asked to choose photos in which they would like to be included. The major results of Study II demonstrated that (1) photos rated highest for questions concerning subjects' feelings toward the slides (easy to gaze at, feeling relaxed, best photo) were the scenery slides shown alone. The second highest rating went to the slides of the person walking the dog. (2) The person shown in the scene was perceived as appearing happier and safer when with the dog. (3) Subjects preferred to be added to the scene shown alone, without the dog. And when given the choice to replace the person shown, subjects preferred to replace the person in the scene with the dog rather than the person shown alone. Overall, results of both Studies I and II indicate that people appear happier, safer, and make a better “picture” when seen with a dog. Also, the results show that people appear more relaxed when sitting or standing with a dog. Finally, when asked to place themselves in the scene, subjects would rather be in a scene with a dog than alone.
Article
To compare risk factors for cardiovascular disease in pet owners and non-owners. Accepted risk factors for cardiovascular disease were measured in 5741 participants attending a free, screening clinic at the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne. Blood pressure, plasma cholesterol and triglyceride values were compared in pet owners (n = 784) and non-owners (n = 4957). Pet owners had significantly lower systolic blood pressure and plasma triglycerides than non-owners. In men, pet owners had significantly lower systolic but not diastolic blood pressure than non-owners, and significantly lower plasma triglyceride levels, and plasma cholesterol levels. In women over 40 years old, systolic but not diastolic pressure was significantly lower in pet owners and plasma triglycerides also tended to be lower. There were no differences in body mass index and self-reported smoking habits were similar, but pet owners reported that they took significantly more exercise than non-owners, and ate more meat and "take-away" foods. The socioeconomic profile of the pet owners and non-owners appeared to be comparable. Pet owners in our clinic population had lower levels of accepted risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and this was not explicable on the basis of cigarette smoking, diet, body mass index or socioeconomic profile. The possibility that pet ownership reduces cardiovascular risk factors should therefore be investigated.
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.
Some recent work on the psychotherapeutic value of caged birds with old people
  • R A Mugford
  • J G Comisky
Mugford, R. A., & M'Comisky, J. G. (1975). Some recent work on the psychotherapeutic value of caged birds with old people. In R. S. Anderson (Ed.), Pets, animals and society (pp. 54±65). London: Bailliere Tindall.
Social facilitation of contact with other people by pet dogs
  • P R Messent
Messent, P. R. (1983). Social facilitation of contact with other people by pet dogs. In A. H. Katcher & A. M. Beck (Eds.), New perspectives on our lives with companion animals (pp. 37±46). Philadelphia : University of Philadelphia Press.
Self perception and the eåects of mobility training Unpublished PhD thesis The eåects of service dogs on social acknowledgement of people in wheelchairs Animal companions and one year survival of patients after discharge from a coronary care unit
  • G Dela®eld
  • Uk
  • J Eddy
  • L A Hart
  • R P Boltz
Dela®eld, G. (1975). Self perception and the eåects of mobility training. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Nottingham, UK. Eddy, J., Hart, L. A., & Boltz, R. P. (1988). The eåects of service dogs on social acknowledgement of people in wheelchairs. Journal of Psychology, 122, 39±45. J. McNicholas and G. M. Collis Friedmann, E., Katcher, A. H., Lynch, J. J., & Thomas, S. A. (1980). Animal companions and one year survival of patients after discharge from a coronary care unit. Public Health Reports, 95, 307±312.