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Abstract

Research suggests that dogs can facilitate social interactions, which, in turn, may promote psychological health. This study explored the ability of dogs to facilitate social responses relative to other accompaniments and investigated whether the social catalysis effect is generic or influenced by the appearance of the dog. The behavior of 1800 pedestrians approaching a female experimenter was recorded as a function of the presence of three dogs (Labrador Retriever pup, Labrador adult, Rottweiler adult) and two neutral stimuli (teddy bear, potted plant). The behavior of pedestrians approaching the woman whenever she was alone (control) was also explored. Information was collected on the passers-by' gender, number of people in the party, type of acknowledgement elicited and length of conversations. More people ignored the experimenter whenever she was alone or with the teddy or plant, than whenever she was walking a dog. The Rottweiler resulted in more nonresponses than the puppy or adult Labrador, who in turn elicited more smiles and verbal responses. Females, and those alone, elicited more smiles and conversations than males, or those in pairs. It is concluded that dogs can facilitate social interactions between adults better than other accompaniments; however, the social catalysis effect is not generic, but dog specific.

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... However, investigations into the effect companion animals may have on humans have been plagued with mixed results and methodological variations, which has generated considerable controversy (Bergler, 1988;Peacock, Chur-Hansen, & Winefield, 2012;Wright & Moore, 1982). Some of the reported psychological benefits associated with companion animal ownership consists of: the potential to mitigate the effects of stressful life events such as bereavement or divorce, reduced levels of anxiety, loneliness and depression (Folse, Minder, Aycock, & Santana, 1994), enhanced feelings of autonomy, competence and self-esteem (Triebenbacher, 1998), as well as improved social interaction (Gueguen & Ciccoti, 2008;Wells, 2004). In contrast, some recent studies have found that companion animals have a minimal impact on psychological wellbeing and may actually exacerbate psychological symptoms of depression and emotional distress (Peacock, Chur-Hansen, & Winefield, 2012;Wells & Rodi, 2000;). ...
... It has generally been found that dogs seem to provide the most benefits to individuals (Walsh, 2009). Dogs tend to encourage social interactions between people, walking with a dog increases the number of conversations an individual will have with strangers compared to when walking alone (McNicholas & Collis, 2000;Messant, 1983;Wells, 2004). Messant (1983) found that the presence of a dog increased the likelihood of social interactions between the dog's owner and other people and that people who have companion animals may also position themselves in social situations more often than non-owners, such as taking their dog to a local park. ...
... The main themes consisted of: Psychosocial functioning, the Human-Animal bond and the Benefits of the Human-Animal bond. While these findings are typical to what has been found in the general human-animal research Folse, Minder, Aycock, & Santana, 1994;Friedmann & Tsai, 2006;Gueguen & Ciccoti, 2008;Straats, Wallace, & Anderson, 2007;Triebenbacher, 1998;Wells, 2004), certain features of the human-animal relationship necessary for psychological gains seemed strongly influenced by the men's military backgrounds. ...
Thesis
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Many Vietnam veterans continue to experience poor mental health and a range of complex, psychosocial difficulties decades after their military service. This qualitative study examined the experience of companion animal ownership for twelve male Vietnam veterans using a phenomenological framework. The men in this study were in the developmental stage of older adulthood and mostly owned dogs as companion animals. In-depth interviews were analysed using thematic content analysis and three main themes emerged. These were: Psychosocial functioning, the human-animal bond and the benefits of the human-animal bond. While these findings are typical of other human-animal research, the companion animal characteristics that facilitated a strong attachment, and therefore beneficial relationship seemed strongly influenced by the men’s military background. This has implications for progressing current knowledge around the effect companion animals can potentially have on an individual’s mental health, as well as clinical relevance for psychology.
... 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). ...
... 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). It has been shown that people accompanied by a dog elicit higher levels of tolerance (Lawson, 2001) and are viewed as more trustworthy (e.g., they are more often provided with phone numbers by strangers; Guéguen and Ciccotti, 2008) and likable (i.e., happier, friendlier, wealthier, and less dangerous) than individuals who are alone or with flowers (Lockwood, 1983;Rossbach and Wilson, 1992). ...
... 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.
... In 2018, for example, Americans spent over 72 billion dollars on their pets, more than they spent on all sporting events combined (American Pet Products Association 2019; Kutz 2017). And numerous studies have documented how pet ownership contributes to positive outcomes in mental health and companionship, and potentially even improved physical health (Friedmann and Thomas 1985;Jennings 1997;Wells 2009). ...
... This would be expected because some animals encourage more prosocial behavior than others. For instance, research suggests that owning a dog provides occasion for owners to get out of the house on walks or go to dog parks where they may interact with other owners (McNicholas and Collis 2000;Wells, 2004Wells, , 2009. Dogs are also more likely to be owned by larger families with children (Murray et al. 2010), which is also associated with religious participation. ...
... This would be expected because some animals encourage more prosocial behavior than others. For instance, research suggests that owning a dog provides occasion for owners to get out of the house on walks or go to dog parks where they may interact with other owners (McNicholas and Collis 2000;Wells, 2004Wells, , 2009. Dogs are also more likely to be owned by larger families with children (Murray et al. 2010), which is also associated with religious participation. ...
Article
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Over 60 percent of Americans have some sort of family pet. Although studies have explored the personality and demographic correlates of pet ownership, none have considered whether religious characteristics may influence not only pet ownership, but the kind of pet Americans own. Drawing on data from the 2018 General Social Survey, we examine the religious antecedents of pet ownership in general as well as owning a cat or a dog, taking into account factors previously associated with owning certain pets (e.g., urban vs. rural residence, political affiliation). Although religious tradition and biblical literalism generally do not predict pet ownership, frequent worship attendees and the most conservative evangelicals report owning fewer pets. Religious characteristics also predict Americans’ ownership of particular pets. Most notably, we find a strong, negative association between worship attendance and cat ownership. We theorize potential mechanisms. On the one hand, certain personality types might simultaneously attract some Americans toward religious participation and away from pets, and cats in particular. Alternatively, to the extent that pet ownership is a partial substitute for human bonding and interaction, Americans more deeply embedded within a religious community may have less need (or time) for pets generally, and specifically more independent “roommate pets,” like cats.
... Pets, in particular dogs, have long been noted for their socializing role. For example, walking with a dog results in a significantly higher number of chance conversations with strangers than walking alone (McNicholas & Collis, 2000;Messent, 1983;Wells, 2004). This so-called social catalysis, or lubrication, effect does not, however, appear to be a generic one; rather it seems related to features of the animal. ...
... This so-called social catalysis, or lubrication, effect does not, however, appear to be a generic one; rather it seems related to features of the animal. Young dogs, with their endearing features and clumsy movements, are more likely than older animals to evoke social responses (Wells, 2004). Likewise, dogs that are generally perceived in a positive light, for whatever reason (e.g., reputed temperament, color), are more likely to facilitate social interactions than those that are less popular (Wells, 2004). ...
... Young dogs, with their endearing features and clumsy movements, are more likely than older animals to evoke social responses (Wells, 2004). Likewise, dogs that are generally perceived in a positive light, for whatever reason (e.g., reputed temperament, color), are more likely to facilitate social interactions than those that are less popular (Wells, 2004). ...
Article
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Since the late 1970s, scientific evidence has accumulated showing that pet ownership can have positive effects on people’s physical and mental wellbeing. This paper reviews the current state of affairs regarding the relationship between companion animals and human health, focusing on both the physical and psychological health outcomes related to human–animal interactions. Although designed to set the general scene on the link between animals and human wellbeing, research specific to older adults is highlighted where relevant. A particular emphasis is placed on disorders prevalent in modern-day society, notably cardiovascular disease and depression. The possible mechanisms by which companion animals might be able to enhance human wellbeing and quality of life are discussed, focusing on routes including, amongst others, the provision of companionship, social lubrication, and improvements to physical fitness. The role of the social bonding hormone, oxytocin, in facilitating attachment to our pets and the implications for human health is also discussed. Inconsistencies in the literature and methodological limitations are highlighted throughout. It is concluded that future human–animal interaction experiments should aim to account for the confounding variables that are inherent in studies of this nature.
... Similarly, Wong [23] reported that all respondents except one considered their guide dog as a companion and friend. Previous studies have also suggested that the presence of a dog can facilitate social contacts by increasing the social attractiveness of his or her handler [32][33][34]. ...
... GD group respondents stated more often that a guide dog facilitates finding new social contacts compared with the NGD group. This finding may be because of the lack of real experience with a guide dog in the NGD group, as previous studies have shown that canine companions can stimulate prosocial behavior of strangers, and thereby raise the social attractiveness of the animal handlers [32][33][34]. Guide dogs should not interact with people in the public to keep levels of distraction low. However, strangers may still be attracted by the dog, and thus want to approach or pat it, and thereby initiate contact with the animal handler [30]. ...
Article
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Blindness has previously been associated with impaired quality of life (QOL). Guide dogs may not only support blind people in their independency, but also facilitate social relationships and overall health. This study sought to investigate whether blind people from Austria with a guide dog, when compared with blind people without a guide dog, differ in their QOL, annual medical costs, and attitudes towards the human–guide dog relationship. Participants (n = 36) filled out an online accessible questionnaire that consisted of the World Health Organization (WHO)QOL-BREF and additional self-designed questions. Guide dog ownership was not associated with a better QOL. However, yearly medical cost expenditures were descriptively lower in guide dog owners, who were also more likely to believe that guide dogs can increase their independency and exert positive effects on health. Moreover, guide dog owners more likely considered a guide dog as a family member than non-guide dog owners. Although within the framework of this study, owning a guide dog was not significantly associated with increased QOL, some differences between the groups regarding health beliefs, attitude towards the dog, and relationship with the dog were identified. Accounting for the emerging prevalence of visual impairment, further research into this topic is warranted.
... Because dogs commonly motivate their owners to get outside for walks [18], dogs also may enhance physical activity among teleworkers, particularly if the lack of a commute increases the amount of time teleworkers have available to engage in physical activity. Furthermore, dogs facilitate social interactions among people [19,20]. Thus, they may help offset feelings of social isolation that individuals may experience when working remotely, particularly if dog owners are regularly encountering some of the same acquaintances day after day while walking their dog. ...
... Finally, future studies that focus on loneliness in relation to the teleworking experience may find that behavioral and physical characteristics of a dog enhance or hinder opportunities for social engagement with other humans while on dog walks. After all, the degree to which dog walking facilitates social interactions among community members is impacted by dog age, breed, and behavior [20,41]. ...
Article
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In Spring of 2020, the novel coronavirus (SAR-CoV-2) prompted an unprecedented number of individuals across the United States to begin working from home. Prior research has identified both positive and negative impacts of teleworking on employee well-being, and this study built on that research to explore perceptions regarding how companion animals factor into the teleworking experience. Individuals who had experience working from home and from their employer’s office completed an online survey about those experiences. Participants reported spending more quality time with their companion animals and family members when they worked from home. Furthermore, when working from home, individuals with dogs were more likely than those without dogs to report they socialized with other people, got a healthy amount of physical activity, and took at least one 15-min walk during the workday. Some participants, particularly those in households containing both dogs and cats, indicated that their pets created distractions during the workday. Future studies can build on this research by investigating whether the findings persist once the novel coronavirus is no longer a threat, and by paying close attention to the characteristics of pets, owners, and household dynamics that may influence the effects of pet ownership on the teleworking experience.
... For socially isolated individuals, animals can provide comfort and a sense of friendship (Howe & Easterbrook, 2018;Irvine, 2013). Dogs may also act as social facilitators, increasing encounters with other people and help to mediate these interactions (McNicholas & Collis, 2000;Wells, 2004). This may be dependent on both owner and dog characteristics, with younger dogs or those perceived to have more likeable characteristics receiving more positive attention than others (Wells, 2004). ...
... Dogs may also act as social facilitators, increasing encounters with other people and help to mediate these interactions (McNicholas & Collis, 2000;Wells, 2004). This may be dependent on both owner and dog characteristics, with younger dogs or those perceived to have more likeable characteristics receiving more positive attention than others (Wells, 2004). ...
Article
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Homelessness is a pervasive social issue worldwide. In the UK, it is currently estimated that one in two hundred people are homeless, approximating 0.5% of the population. Pet ownership among this group is thought to be commonplace and has been linked with a range of human health and social benefits. These include amelioration of loneliness, isolation and depression and reduction in suicidal thoughts, substance misuse and criminal activity. However, pet ownership has also been suggested to perpetuate homelessness by restricting access to support services, especially housing. This study aimed to explore the nature of the Human–Companion Animal Bond (H-CAB) between UK homeless owners and their dogs, and to document the implications of this bond for the health and welfare of both parties. Twenty homeless or vulnerably housed dog owners were recruited to participate in semi-structured interviews consisting of open and closed questions. These were recorded, transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis. Major emergent themes included participants’ descriptions of their pets as kin; the responsibility they felt towards their pet; and anticipatory grief when contemplating a future without their companion animal. Importantly, the analysis also suggests the importance of a mutual rescue narrative, whereby pet owners felt that they had rescued their dogs from a negative situation, and vice-versa. However, participants also described being refused access to services, frequently on account of their desire not to relinquish their pet. Indeed, given their description of their pets as family members, participants expressed frustration that this relationship was not considered as being of worthy of preservation by homelessness services. This study has highlighted some important features of the H-CAB between homeless owners and their dogs, not previously characterized in the UK. It also highlights the importance of empowering support services to accept pets where feasible, and thus preserve and enhance the benefits of pet ownership in this vulnerable population.
... In terms of possible metacontingencies, aggregate products of these recurrent IBCs that could be selected by the surrounding environment (e.g., other family members as audiences) are the child's acquisition of new verbal or nonverbal behavior (e.g., a mother that observes the dog-training episode and at the end praises the "performance" of the group), the dog's acquisition of socially-valued behavior (e.g., a "well behaved" dog that gets to stay in the family), social facilitators, or reduction of stress levels of the members involved (e.g., Greenebaum, 2010;Kwan & Bain, 2013;Odendaal & Meintjes, 2003;Wells, 2004;Westgarth et al., 2015). Research on the positive effects of dogs' inclusion in families in terms of, for instance, strengthening family ties and intimacy, supports this interpretation (e.g., Cloutier & Peetz, 2016;Power, 2008;Tannen, 2004;Turner, 2005). ...
... Regarding the dogs' role of facilitating social interactions (Fine, 2004;McNicholas & Collis, 2000), anthrozoological research has also found that companion dogs act as "social lubricants" (Gunter, 1999), evoking more friendly attention from others and helping to initiate conversations (McNicholas & Collis, 2006;Wells, 2004). Accordingly, studies suggest that companion dogs benefit romantic relationships by playing a role in stress relief for couples and providing the opportunity to practice empathy (Cloutier & Peetz, 2016;Walsh, 2009). ...
Article
Mounting interest in the evolutionary and contemporary aspects of human-dog association has resulted in growing research efforts from different disciplines with differing methodologies and areas of emphasis. Despite its potential to contribute to the understanding of human-dog interactions, behavior-analytic research efforts are scarce. We are illustrating how the behavior-analytic three-level selection by consequences framework could be applied to inform research on human-dog interactions. Therefore, the notions of interlocking behavioral contingencies and metacontingencies are applied to interpret specific interactions and suggest potential lines of research. We first analyze the development of cooperative hunting of prehistoric humans and dogs, and its implications for interspecific social-communicative skills. Second, we discuss contemporary family practices that involve the interactions between parents, children and family dogs via an analysis of a prototypic social episode. Lastly, we provide an overview of the main approaches that have contributed to the understanding of the human-dog interactions (e.g., anthrozoological), and show how their findings can be placed within the behavior-analytic framework. We conclude that the coherence of the selectionist framework is a major strength that not only can contribute to synthesize a large amount of scattered research on human-dog relationships conducted across various fields, but can also inform further research and applications.
... Additionally, a number commented on potential benefits to other residents and staff. This reflects previous research showing that pets can act as social facilitators by encouraging conversation (Wells, 2004) including between homed and homeless persons. As Irvine (2012) stated "Strangers will initiate a conversation with a person accompanied by a dog where they would not do so with a person alone." ...
Article
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Pets provide companionship and social facilitation among excluded populations, including homeless people. However, having a pet may restrict access to services, including accommodation. The aims of this study were to assess pet provision among homelessness accommodation providers, and to assess reasons for pet provision or exclusion. An online survey consisting of multiple choice questions and free text boxes was distributed to a UK-wide sampling frame of homelessness service providers in July 2016. Of 523 contacts, 117 replied (response rate 22.4%). Of the respondents, 36.8% (43/117) provided services to pets. In contrast, 76.9% (90/117) reported having requests to accommodate pets. Common reasons for choosing to accept pets included perceived benefit to the owner (36/43, 83.7%) or animal (25/43, 58.1%). Most organizations which allowed pets (35/43, 81.4%) had a policy to ensure the animals’ welfare and restrict damage or nuisance. Of the 74 organizations which did not allow pets, health and safety of staff and other residents were the most common concerns. This study shows that demand for pet-friendly accommodation for homeless people far outstrips supply. In view of the important role that pets play for these vulnerable people, homelessness service providers should be encouraged and assisted to accommodate pets where feasible.
... Interpersonal interactions seem to be facilitated by the mere presence of a friendly dog. For instance, dog companionship increases human social attractiveness, stimulating smiles, conversations, and prosocial behavior from strangers Gueguen and Ciccotti 2008;Wells 2004). Positive effects have also been described for human physiological health parameters. ...
Book
This book provides an up-to-date overview of the current knowledge and research concerning domestic pets as sentinels, forecasters and promoters of human health. Written by leading specialists in the fields of medicine, veterinary, environment, analytical chemistry, sociology and behavioral science, this volume provides a comprehensive understanding of the capabilities of pets in what regards to human health. The first seven chapters are devoted to the use of pets as sentinels for their human companions, in terms of exposure to different classes of environmental chemicals. The following five chapters address the use of pets as models for human diseases and promoters of human health. The final two chapters highlight the psycho-social and psychophysiological aspects of human-animal interactions. The book offers an integrated approach to the One Health concept, providing, in a truly holistic manner, tools to assess the equilibrium between the environment, men and animals. This exercise will highlight and reshape our position towards the planet that despite being “a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot lost in the unimaginable infinity of the Universe” is still our own. At the end of the day, pets will always be there to help us.
... sie fördern bei Menschen jeden Alters, gesund oder krank, soziale Interaktionen, verbal und nonverbal. Dazu gehört auch, dass Personen in Begleitung eines freundlich aussehenden Hundes mehr positive soziale Aufmerksamkeit von anderen bekommen, häufiger angesprochen oder angelächelt werden (Eddy, Hart, & Boltz, 2001;Hart, Hart, & Bergin, 1987;Wells, 2004) und ihnen mehr Vertrauen entgegengebracht wird (Gueguen & Ciccotti, 2008). In einer experimentellen Studie wurde zudem gezeigt, dass sich die Anwesenheit eines freundlichen Hundes auch positiv auf die Wahrnehmung und Vertrauenswürdigkeit von Psychotherapeuten auswirkt (Schneider & Harley, 2006). ...
... Interpersonal interactions seem to be facilitated by the mere presence of a friendly dog. For instance, dog companionship increases human social attractiveness, stimulating smiles, conversations, and prosocial behavior from strangers (Eddy et al. 1988; Gueguen and Ciccotti 2008;Wells 2004). Positive effects have also been described for human physiological health parameters. ...
Chapter
The practice of implementing dogs into therapeutic environments is an emerging field. Despite the increasingly growing scientific interest on human health outcomes, research efforts into the canine perspective of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) have been scarce. The demands therapy dogs encounter during their performance in therapeutic environments however go beyond the challenge of accepting close social contact with strangers. Physiological and behavioral welfare indicators and dog handler surveys to identify stress related to AAIs have been used across the scientific literature. However, the current body of research presents a conflicting picture, making it difficult to generalize study results. Research indicates that frequency and duration of AAI sessions, novelty of the environment, controllability, age, and familiarity of recipients modulate animal welfare indicators. The biopsychosocial model of dog health in AAIs is proposed as a multidimensional framework of human–animal interaction effects on dogs. Moreover, training methods, attachment to handler, and inequity aversion in dogs are discussed as factors likely to affect welfare. This chapter highlights that clear conclusions on how the well-being of dogs is influenced by the performance in AAIs cannot be drawn due to the heterogeneity of programs, recipient and session characteristics, small dog sample sizes, and methodological limitations.
... Not all dogs can promote interactions to the same degree (Wells, 2007). Wells (2004) found support for dogs' ability to facilitate social interactions; however, this finding was not a generic effect, but rather was a breed specific effect. In that study, experimenter interactions as measured by approach behaviors, were significantly greater when she was accompanied by the Labrador Retriever puppy or adult Labrador Retriever, compared to the adult Rottweiler dog. ...
Article
During social interactions, one must be able to interpret social signals that convey information and respond appropriately to interactants. Several factors have been shown to influence decisions of interpersonal distance preferences; however, research has yet to determine the associative effects companion animals may have on social information processing during intended interactions. Previous research (Briones et al., 2022) distinguished between various breeds of dogs perceived to be higher or lower in aggression, and further showed that people had a greater tendency to interact with dogs perceived to be lower in aggression. The current studies (Study 1 n = 174; Study 2 n = 229) were an extension of that research and used computer-simulated avatar interactions to assess the influence of dog breeds and other factors on actual proxemic behavior during goal-related social interactions. Results showed that during social interactions, (a) interactants associated with dog breeds perceived higher in aggressiveness elicited larger interpersonal spaces; (b) closer interpersonal distances are maintained with friends than strangers; (c) greater affinity for dogs, in general, was related to closer proxemic distances; and (d) dog handlers taking the perspective of the approaching interactant results in greater interpersonal distances.
... Another possible explanation is that dog ownership increases human social interaction, thereby improving the social well-being of dog owners and reducing their loneliness. Dogs may act as catalysts for social interaction [10,11,68,69]. An ancillary finding in our study to support this explanation was that most dog owners had met people in their neighbourhood because of their dog and some even considered such people as potential sources of advice. ...
Article
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Background: Dog ownership is suggested to improve mental well-being, although empirical evidence among community dog owners is limited. This study examined changes in human mental well-being following dog acquisition, including four measures: loneliness, positive and negative affect, and psychological distress. Methods: We conducted an eight-month controlled study involving three groups (n = 71): 17 acquired a dog within 1 month of baseline (dog acquisition); 29 delayed dog acquisition until study completion (lagged control); and 25 had no intentions of acquiring a dog (community control). All participants completed the UCLA Loneliness Scale (possible scores 0-60), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule and Kessler10 at baseline, three-months and eight-months. We used repeated measures ANCOVAs to analyse data with owner age and sex included as covariates. Post-hoc tests were performed for significant effects (p < 0.05). Results: There was a statistically significant group by time interaction for loneliness (p = 0.03), with an estimated reduction of 8.41 units (95% CI -16.57, - 0.26) from baseline to three-months and 7.12 (95% CI -12.55, - 1.69) from baseline to eight-months in the dog acquisition group. The group by time interaction for positive affect was also significant (p = 0.03), although there was no change in the dog acquisition group. Conclusions: Companion dog acquisition may reduce loneliness among community dog owners. Our study provides useful direction for future larger trials on the effects of dog ownership on human mental well-being. Trial registration: This trial was retrospectively registered on 5th July 2017 with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ( ACTRN12617000967381 ).
... It was observed that animal visits reduce feelings of loneliness by increasing social interactions with the other group members. Wells (2004) conducted experiment on the behavior of 1800 strangers toward a female experimenter in six different situations. In different situation she was accompanied by a Labrador retriever puppy, a grown-up Labrador, a grown-up Rottweiler, a teddy bear, a plant and being alone as control conditions. ...
Research
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The aim of this study is to find out the effect of human and animal bond on emotional regulation and level of depression. From ages the relationship has been formed between humans and animals based on work, sports and companionship. These animals affect us in lot of ways and they become important part of our family portraits. To see this, sample was taken of 60 adolescents (18-25) out of which, 30 who owned the pet and 30 who did not own the pet, by using Emotional regulation questionnaire (ERQ) and Beck's depression inventory (BPI). The result shows no significant correlation among pet owners and non-pet owners. Thus, other factors also play a major role and further research needs to be done.
... Companion animal ownership may also benefit us less directly by stimulating positive social interactions and relationships with other people. Several experimental studies have demonstrated that people of all ages, including those with physical disabilities, enjoy more frequent and more positive interactions with strangers when accompanied in public by a dog, than when unaccompanied (Guéguen & Ciccotti 2008;Mader et al. 1989;McNicholas & Collis 2000;Wells 2004). Community-based surveys have also determined that pet ownership is positively associated with social interaction among neighbours and with perceptions of neighbourhood friendliness. ...
Chapter
Companion animals (or pets) form a distinctive category of domestic animals defined by their primary use as nonhuman social support providers. Companion animals have an ancient history that may precede and anticipate the original domestication of animals. Currently, more than 60% of European and American households keep pets, and their numbers are increasing rapidly in several emerging economies. The results of research over the past four decades suggest that relationships with companion animals may be beneficial to human health and well-being, though the extent of the benefits will likely depend on relationship quality. Exposure to positive relationships with pets in childhood may also predispose people to develop more empathic responses to animals later in life. In spite of these benefits, pet ownership also imposes costs, particularly in terms of environmental damage, risk to public health and threat to animal welfare. The future of these exceptional human–animal relationships will depend on striking a positive balance between the benefits and the costs.
... McNicholas and Collis (2000) found the presence of a pet dog to be associated with significantly more interactions with strangers. Pets in the workplace have also been associated with facilitated social interaction (Wells and Perrine, 2001), and Wells (2004) found that a Labrador puppy elicited significantly longer conversations from passersby than a teddy bear or a potted plant. Other authors have suggested that pets not only act as social lubricants, but may also serve as catalysts for social networks (Wood & Giles-Corti, 2005;Wood, Giles-Corti, Bulsara, & Bosch, 2007). ...
Thesis
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Though there is an expanding focus on the beneficial role of pets in the fields of nursing and veterinary medicine, the social sciences have been behind in paying attention to the significant role that pets play in human lives. Much has been made of findings that pet dogs may have a significant impact on physiological measures of health. However, dogs have also been associated with psychological measures of well-being, both through animal-assisted therapy and in the general population of dog owners. Whether the mechanism is touch, exercise, attachment, nonevaluative social support, or some combination of these, the human connection to the non-human animal world merits further investigation. Previous results have been mixed, and studies suffer from a lack of large sample sizes or sufficient control conditions, among other weaknesses. The current study attempts to address some of the gaps in the literature by assessing the impact of the presence of pet dogs on their owners" responses to a negative mood induction procedure. Controlling for dog ownership as well as for the presence of the dog, and collecting demographic information from each participant in addition to measures of self-esteem, depression, social support, attitudes towards pets, and attachment to pets, this study found that among single female dog owners, positive attitudes towards animals were associated with positive mood prior to the mood induction. In addition, dog owners accompanied by their dogs experienced significantly lower despondency scores compared to non-owners prior to the mood induction. However, the presence of a pet dog was associated with increases in anxiety and apprehension subsequent to the mood induction, suggesting the importance of considering contextual factors when evaluating the emotional benefits of dog ownership.
... Tomando en consideración la dimensión social, los estudios señalan que las mascotas ejercen un efecto de lubricante social, facilitando el acercamiento y la mejora de las relaciones, efecto que permanece posteriormente aunque ya no esté presente la mascota [3] [18], un incremento de visitas de los amigos y un mayor número de actividades familiares [19], la mejora de las habilidades sociales [20], produce un efecto positivo sobre el desarrollo social y la empatía [21] [22], y favorece la confianza en los extraños [22] [23]. Estos efectos también se producen cuando se utilizan mascotas en contextos hospitalarios con pacientes psiquiátricos [24]. ...
Article
INTRODUCCIÓN. En varios estudios se ha desvelado que las relaciones entre humanos y animales pueden jugar un papel importante en el desarrollo socioemocional de los niños OBJETIVO. El presente estudio pretende identificar la relación existente entre la variable dependiente empatía y las variables independientes actitudes hacia las mascotas, trato hacia las mascotas y tener o no tener mascota, en un grupo de preadolescentes. MÉTODO. Se presenta un estudio de tipo ex post facto. Se han aplicado tres cuestionarios: El Interpersonal Reactivity Index en su versión castellanizada, El Pet Attitude Scale - Modified y El Children´s Treatment of Animals Questionnaire. RESULTADOS. Hemos constatado que existen relaciones de covariación entre algunas de las variables estudiadas lo que nos ha permitido proponer una serie de cuatro modelos causales y decidir cuál de ellos obtiene los mejores indicadores de bondad de ajuste. DISCUSIÓN Y CONCLUSIONES. El contacto con animales en el hogar ejerce influencia sobre el desarrollo de la empatía en los niños.
... 17 En estos hallazgos resulta más 17 Esta facilitación social dependería en parte del tipo de animal (Serpell, 2011). Por ejemplo, un estudio encontró que experimentadores con cachorros tenían más aceptación que con perros adultos; y que una persona recibía menos reconocimiento con un rottweiler que con una labrador (Wells, 2004 (Serpell & Paul, 2011, en Emlen et al., 1991 (Serpell, 1996). ...
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Resumen: La tenencia de mascotas ha generado interrogantes socioeconómicos y evolutivos en tanto éstas no desempeñan tareas claramente utilitarias. Estos interrogantes pueden acentuarse considerando que el apego a estos animales resulta un fenómeno extendido ampliamente a través de la historia y en todo el mundo. Una hipótesis plantea que las mascotas funcionarían como parásitos sociales manipulando respuestas humanas para elicitar cuidados; la tenencia de estos animales iría en detrimento de la aptitud humana y configuraría un comportamiento desadaptativo. Contrariamente, basada en investigaciones sobre los beneficios de la tenencia de mascotas, otra hipótesis caracteriza el vínculo humano-animal de compañía como un caso de mutualismo, y la tenencia de mascotas como genuinamente adaptativa. Se exponen y articulan desarrollos de ambas perspectivas y se argumenta a favor de la hipótesis mutualista.
... Esta facilitación social estaría condicionada por el tipo de animal de compañía del que se trate (Serpell & Paul, 2011). Por ejemplo, un estudio encontró que experimentadores con cachorros tenían más aceptación que con perros adultos; y que una persona recibía menos reconocimiento con un rottweiler que con una labrador (Wells, 2004). La tenencia de mascotas también ha sido asociada con interacciones sociales, intercambios de favores, compromiso cívico, percepciones amistosas del vecindario y sentido de comunidad (Wodd, Giles-Corti, Bulsara, & Bosch, 2007). ...
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Los crecientes avances en antrozoología han permitido incrementar nuestro conocimiento sobre los potenciales beneficios derivados de la interacción humano-animal de compañía. Sin embargo, aún resta esclarecer los mecanismos y circunstancias que favorecen que estos beneficios tengan lugar. Se desarrolló un estudio descriptivo del que participaron un total de 549 tenedores de mascotas, quienes respondieron un inventario online que constaba de un cuestionario sociodemográfico, una evaluación de personalidad abreviada basada en el Modelo de los cincos grandes (Ten Item Personality Inventory) y la Escala de Beneficios Percibidos (EBP). La única dimensión de la personalidad asociada a los puntajes de EBP fue Apertura a la experiencia; a su vez, esta fue la única dimensión de personalidad asociada con considerar animal de compañía como miembro de la familia. La comparación entre custodios de perros y gatos no evidenció diferencias en EBP. Mientras que la edad de los participantes no mostró diferencias en los puntajes de EBP, las mujeres puntuaron significativamente más alto que los hombres. Se concluye destacando que la relación con perros y gatos es percibida como beneficiosa en igual medida, y que si bien esta percepción no se relacionaría con la edad del custodio, sí estaría relacionada con ciertos rasgos de personalidad, como mayor flexibilidad a cambios o interés por valores no convencionales, los cuales pueden favorecer la conexión entre especies. La marcada percepción diferencial de beneficios por parte de los custodios mujeres, es discutida en función de las limitaciones del estudio destacando un posible sesgo muestral. Palabras clave Antrozoología, Beneficios animales de compañía, Mascotas, Personalidad. Abstract The growing advances in anthrozoology have led to an increase in our knowledge on the potential benefits derived from the interaction between guardians and their animals. However, the mechanisms and circumstances that make this benefits take place are still to be elucidated. A descriptive study was carried out, in which 549 companion animal keepers participated and filled an online survey that consisted of a sociodemographic questionnaire, an abridged personality evaluation based on the Big Five model (Ten Item Personality Inventory; TIPI) and the Perceived Benefit Scale (PBS). The only personality dimension associated with PBS score was Openness to experience; moreover, this was the only personality dimension associated with the fact of considering the companion animal as a family member. The comparison between dog and cat guardians showed no difference in the BPS score. Whereas the participants' age showed no difference in the BPS score, women scored significantly higher than men did. As a conclusion, we highlight the fact that the relationship with dogs and cats is perceived beneficial in the same degree, and that, even though this perception has no relationship with the guardian's age, it would be related to certain personality traits, such as higher flexibility to changes or interest on no conventional values, which might strengthen the connection between species. The marked differential perception of the benefit by female guardians is discussed in function of the study limitations, taking into consideration a possible sample bias.
... Dogs may provide motivation for physical activity similar to having a walking partner ( Feng et al., 2014). Walking with a dog can facilitate social interactions between people and conversations with strangers more than when walking alone ( Wells, 2004). The importance of physical activity for the dog's wellbeing can also be an appropriate stimulus to increase dog walking ( Hoerster et al., 2011). ...
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Little is known about factors that influence owners' decisions walking their dogs on or off a leash in public places. We examined the effect of the type of public place, dog's age, sex and size, and human gender on off-leash dog walking. Observations of 1850 dogs and their owners were made in streets and parks in Brno (Czech Republic). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed no significant effect of human gender on the frequency of unleashed dogs in streets and parks. Off-leash dog walking was 2.8 times more likely in parks than in streets. Adult dogs were unleashed 1.9 times more likely than puppies in streets and parks. Larger dogs were unleashed 3.4 times less likely than smaller dogs in streets and 2.8 times more likely in parks. Male dogs were unleashed 1.7 times less likely than female dogs in streets. The dog's sex had no effect on off-leash dog walking in parks. The age and sex of dogs walked by men and women in public places were not significantly different. Larger dogs were walked by men 1.9 times more likely than by women. Results indicate that off-leash dog walking is affected by the type of public place and dog's age, sex and size. © 2017 Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry Brno. All rights reserved.
... Spending more time could be consistent with activities related to dog walking and to social interaction. In a previous study, younger individuals have more social interaction when walking with their dogs than when walking alone (61,62). Dog-walking may also play a role in the social facilitation older dog owners experienced while walking dogs (63). ...
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Introduction: Diminishing cognitive and physical functions, worsening psychological symptoms, and increased mortality risk and morbidity typically accompany aging. The aging population's health needs will continue to increase as the proportion of the population aged > 50 years increases. Pet ownership (PO) has been linked to better health outcomes in older adults, particularly those with chronic conditions. Much of the evidence is weak. Little is known about PO patterns as people age or the contribution of PO to successful aging in community-dwelling older adults. This study examines PO patterns among healthy community-dwelling older adults and the relationship of PO to cognitive and physical functions and psychological status. Methods: Participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (> 50 years old, N = 378) completed a battery of cognitive, physical function, and psychological tests, as well as a PO questionnaire. Descriptive and non-parametric or general/generalized linear model analyses were conducted for separate outcomes. Results: Most participants (82%) had kept pets and 24% have pets: 14% dogs, 12% cats, 3% other pets. The most frequent reasons for having pets included enjoyment (80%) and companionship (66%). Most owners had kept the pet they had the longest for over 10 years (70%). PO was lower in older decades (p < 0.001). Pet owners were more likely to live in single-family homes and reside with others (p = 0.001) than non-owners. Controlling for age, PO was associated independently with better cognitive function (verbal leaning/memory p = 0.041), dog ownership predicted better physical function (daily energy expenditure, p = 0.018), and cat ownership predicted better cognitive functioning (verbal learning/memory, p = 0.035). Many older adults who did not own pets (37%) had regular contact with pets, which was also related to health outcomes. Conclusion: PO is lower at older ages, which mirrors the general pattern of poorer cognitive and physical function, and psychological status at older ages. PO and regular contact with pets (including PO) are associated with better cognitive status compared with those who did not own pets or had no regular contact with pets independent of age. Dog ownership was related to better physical function. Longitudinal analysis is required to evaluate the association of PO and/or regular contact with maintenance of health status over time.
... Bepaalde ras-specifieke verschijnselen steken de kop op, en personen vergezeld van een Rottweiler worden bijvoorbeeld minder aangesproken dan wanneer zij vergezeld zijn van een Golden Retriever (Wells, 2004 Serpell, Coppinger, Fine & Peralta, 2010). In een notendop kan men stellen dat therapeuten door observatie gecombineerd met kennis van het normaal gedrag van het dier, in staat moeten zijn om ontevredenheid of angst bij het dier op te sporen. ...
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De voorbije decennia is er een groeiende belangstelling voor de studie van mens-dier interacties. Vanwege hun veronderstelde positieve invloed is er de laatste jaren een opmars bezig in de betrekking van dieren in psychotherapie (“Animal Assisted Therapy”). Terwijl toepassingen in individueel georiënteerde therapie zich uitbreiden, blijft het gebruik van dieren in systeemtherapie echter onderbelicht. Naar aanleiding van Walsh’s suggestie wordt in deze scriptie ingegaan op de verschillende manieren waarop dieren betekenisvol kunnen zijn voor systeemtherapeuten. Door literatuurstudie te combineren met open interviews bij individueel of systemisch gerichte therapeuten en cliënten met een hond aanwezig in de therapie, worden verschillende principes bestudeerd. Enerzijds kan het belangrijk zijn om huisdieren van de cliënt mee op te nemen in het systeem. Dit betekent mogelijk om hen fysiek in de therapiesetting te brengen. De voordelen hiervan worden geïllustreerd aan de hand van verhalen uit de praktijk. Anderzijds kan een therapeut ervoor kiezen een eigen dier in te zetten in de therapie. Via de beleving van zowel therapeuten als cliënten worden gebruikte strategieën, invloeden van een hond en mogelijke werkingsmechanismen verkend. Daarnaast worden enkele praktische zaken en problemen besproken. Op basis van deze bevindingen wordt de relevantie voor systeemtherapeuten om dieren al dan niet te betrekken geconcludeerd en worden enkele overwegingen in deze beslissing aangehaald. Hoewel het gebruik van dieren in de therapie voordelen met zich mee kan brengen, dient men in het achterhoofd te houden dat het geen wonderstrategie is. Soms kan datgene dat met een dier teweeggebracht wordt, bereikt worden met andere methodes. Het inzetten van een dier biedt niet altijd een meerwaarde en men kan er daarom voor kiezen geen dier in de therapie te gebruiken. Bovendien dient er voldoende aandacht uit te gaan naar dierenwelzijn, een belangrijk aspect dat soms over het hoofd gezien wordt. Er wordt afgesloten met een algemene conclusie en suggesties voor verder onderzoek. Aangezien de betrekking van dieren in systeemtherapie in zijn kinderschoenen staat, is verder gecontroleerd onderzoek nodig. Indien een dier de effectiviteit van de therapie vergroot, is nog de vraag welke mechanismen juist verantwoordelijk zijn voor dit effect.
... Allen et al., 2001Allen et al., , 2002Friedmann, Thomas, Cook, Tsai, Picot, 2007;Friedmann et al., 1983;Vormbrock & Grossberg, 1988 Menor cantidad de consultas médicas realizadas y de problemas médicos no complejos. Headey & Grabka, 2007;Serpell, 1991;Siegel, 1990 Mayores medidas de bienestar percibido, menor percepción de estrés y de sentimientos de soledad Krause-Parello & Gulick, 2014;Lee & Chai, 2015;Zasloff & Kidd, 1994 Mayor autoestima, menor sensación de abatimiento y mayor percepción de capacidad y autoeficacia Covert, Whiren, Keith, & Nelson, 1985;Zilcha-Mano et al. 2011 Incremento y facilitación de interacciones sociales Charles & Davies, 2008;Guéguen & Ciccotti, 2008;Hart, Hart, & Bergin, 1987;Robins et al., 1991;Wells, 2004;Wood, Giles-Corti, Bulsara, & Bosch, 2007 animales se asocian con más salud y bienestar en los seres humanos (Martens et al., 2016). Por ejemplo, algunas circunstancias vitales que hacen surgir necesidades de acompañamiento pueden ser aliviadas por las mascotas, como cuando una enfermedad reduce la movilidad de las personas (Allen & Blascovich, 1996), cuando estas tienen acceso limitado a fuentes de apoyo social (Allen et al., 2001) o cuando viven solas (Zasloff & Kidd, 1994). ...
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Los vínculos entre personas y otros animales se han convertido en área respetada de investigación dentro de la antrozoología. La Asociación Americana de Medicina Veterinaria los define como relaciones dinámicas y mutuamente beneficiosas que incluyen conductas que impactan en el bienestar de los humanos y animales implicados. Con el propósito de describir sus particularidades, se revisan las tres teorías más renombradas sobre la formación de vínculos humano-animal: Teoría del Apoyo Social, Teoría del Apego y Teoría de la Biofilia. Partiendo de un esquema propuesto por Fine (2014; 2019) se desarrollan los constructos conceptualizados como factores que motivan la formación de estos vínculos, proponiendo una redefinición y ampliación de estos factores. De este modo, se plantea un esquema integrado por: (1) antropomorfismo, (2) dependencia/cuidados nutricios, (3) integración en la vida familiar, (4) balance costo-beneficio, y (5) influencia sociocultural. Estos factores se fundamentan a su vez en el apoyo social, el apego y la biofilia. Finalmente, se discute la falta de mención del afecto implicado en la definición de vínculo. Se cuestiona el intento de adecuación conceptual del vínculo humano-animal a una definición de amistad, en tanto el primero cuenta diferencialmente con la asimetría dada por la dependencia y los cuidados, más bien, propios de una relación parental. Así, se desarrolla el concepto de amor familiar, como un afecto desinteresado y leal que permite que vínculos sociales externos a la familia puedan ser incorporados a esta, y se integra esta noción a la definición del vínculo. Abstract: The bonds between people and other animals has become a respected research field within anthrozoology. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) considers them as dynamic and mutually beneficial relationships, which include actions that impact on the wellbeing of both parts. With the aim of describing their particular traits, we revisited the three most renowned theories on the human-animal bond formation: Social support theory, Attachment theory and Biophilia theory (hypothesis). As of a scheme proposed by Fine (2014; 2019) the conceptualized constructs as factors that motivate the formation of these bonds were developed, which led to their redefinition and extension. Hence, we pose a scheme compound of: (1) anthropomorphism, (2) dependence/nurturing, (3) integration in family life, (4) cost-benefit balance and (5) sociocultural influence. These factors are grounded, at the same time, on social support, attachment and biophilia. Finally, we discuss the omission of affection implied in the definition of bond. We question the intent of conceptual adequation of the human-animal bond into a friendship definition, as the former possesses a differential asymmetry given by the dependency and care, rather typical of a parental relationship. Thus, the concept of familial love is developed as a selfless and loyal kind of affection that allow external social bonds to be incorporated to the family and this notion is integrated in the bond definition.
... In one study, strangers interacted with a researcher who was either alone or with a teddy bear, a plant, or a dog. Consistently, the participants were more engaged with the researcher when the dog was also present (Wells, 2004). Other studies have examined the longterm effects the presence of a dog can have on sociability. ...
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To gain an edge in performance, athletes, coaches, trainers, and sport psychologists worldwide leverage findings from psychological research to develop training and performance strategies. The field of sport psychology draws upon research on stress, anxiety, mindfulness, and team building to develop these strategies. Here, we introduce human-animal interaction as a potential area of research that may apply to athletic performance. Structured interactions with animals—particularly therapy dogs—can provide physiological benefits associated with stress and the oxytocin system, psychological benefits for anxiety and motivation, and social benefits through social support. Yet these effects have not yet been systematically investigated in athletes. Integration of human-animal interactions into athletics can occur through animal visitation programmes and resident therapy animal programmes. Integrating human-animal interactions into athletics presents some unique challenges and limitations that must be considered before implementing these programmes, and these interactions are not a panacea that will work in every situation. But, given the amount of human-animal interaction research suggesting benefits in medicine, mental health, and education contexts, it is worthwhile exploring potential benefits not just for athletic performance, but also for injury prevention and recovery. Highlights • Human–animal interaction is a potential area of research that may apply to athletic performance. • Structured interactions with animals can provide physiological, psychological, and social benefits to athletes, through it is not a panacea that will work in every situation. • Integrating human–animal interactions into athletics presents some unique challenges and limitations that must be considered before implementing these programs.
... Dogs, the animals most commonly engaged in therapeutic settings [2], may enhance the social atmosphere and increase the frequency of conversation between people. This effect, called social catalysis, is somewhat influenced by dog breed [3]. ...
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Therapy animals in clinical settings are purported to reduce patients’ anxiety, decrease agitated behaviour, serve as social mediators, enhance the social atmosphere, and increase patients’ openness towards practitioners. A therapy dog worked alongside her exercise physiologist handler for approximately 1 day/week in a university clinic. The canine and handler functioned as a team, while the handler simultaneously undertook supervision of students. The clinic was open 24 h/week, and no other therapeutic animal was present for any part of the week. We explored, via surveys and interviews, human responses to the dog. The survey comprised 15 statement items regarding the canine’s role, behaviour, and acceptability in the clinic, ranked from strongly disagree (−2) to strongly agree (2), followed by an open item inviting participants to follow up interviews. Eleven (11) clinical clients and seven (7) students completed the survey. One client had not encountered the canine; these data were excluded. Four (4) participants from the client sample provided subsequent telephone interviews. All participants identified the canine as well-behaved; no participants considered that she detracted from their exercise sessions. Most participants were equivocal to statements regarding social lubrication and openness to practitioners; only three clients and two students identified that they felt more willing to share health information; three students identified that they felt they could confide more in the canine than in the practitioner. Interviewees’ reports were similarly favourable, reinforcing the information obtained from the surveys. Interview transcripts were subject to thematic analysis, which focussed around four key themes: (1) the canine’s good behaviour, (2) clients giving permission, and the canine as both (3) a pleasant distraction from the effort of exercise, and (4) nice to have. A therapy dog may enhance some aspects of exercise physiology service delivery.
... 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). ...
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Cross-sectional comparisons of well-being between dog owners and non-owners commonly generate inconsistent results. Focusing on the uniqueness of the relationship might help address this issue and provide a stronger foundation for dog-related psychotherapeutic interventions. This study aims to evaluate the impact of dog-related activities (e.g., exercising the dog) on owner hedonic well-being, life satisfaction and eudaimonic well-being. It was also hypothesised that psychological closeness to the dog would affect these well-being outcomes. For this study, 1030 dog owners aged over 18 years old answered an online questionnaire about the impact of 15 groups of dog-related activities on their well-being. Ordinal regressions were used to estimate the mean response (and its uncertainty) for each outcome, while conditioning for psychological closeness to the dog and controlling for several key covariates. Tactile interactions and dog playing were significantly more beneficial than other activities for hedonic well-being, and dog training and dog presence for eudaimonic well-being. In contrast, dog health issues and behavioural problems were linked to decrements in these well-being outcomes. Higher psychological closeness to the dog predicted greater improvement in well-being in positive dog-related activities. Our quantitative study validates the general findings of previous qualitative work and lays the groundwork for future longitudinal studies.
... Los perros como mascota han sido importantes para las sociedades humanas antiguas; su función ha pasado de ser guardia, protección y compañía durante la caza, a ser parte de un fenómeno ampliamente distribuido en países industrializados, en donde los perros tienen una relación socioemocional compleja con sus propietarios y son tratados muchas veces como si fueran niños (15). La popularidad de los perros domésticos en la sociedad moderna, está respaldada por investigaciones científicas que muestran que tener un perro como mascota mejora la salud física y mental de las personas en diferentes aspectos como: mejora de la condición física y salud cardiovascular, disminuye la depresión y el estrés, además de facilitar el contacto social interpersonal (15,16). ...
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Aunque no se ha comprobado el origen zoonótico de SARS-COV-2, se especula que probablemente es un virus procedente de murciélagos asiáticos. Se han publicado reportes de la infección natural de COVID-19 en mascotas (perros, gatos y hurones), animales de granja (visones) y en animales silvestres en cautiverio (leones, tigres, y gorilas). De manera experimental y mediante modelación computacional, se sabe que el virus pudiera afectar a muchas especies, por lo que es urgente analizar la situación y riesgos que enfrentan los animales en la pandemia actual, ya que pueden ser los más indefensos, además donde se ha comprobado el riesgo de que el virus salte de animales a humanos. El objetivo de este trabajo es mostrar el impacto negativo de la pandemia sobre la salud y el bienestar de mamíferos terrestres. Hasta el momento se han identificado amenazas como abandono y sacrificio de mascotas (perros y gatos), sacrificio de millones de animales de granja como visones, además de ataques a poblaciones de murciélagos. El desconocimiento generalizado de la población sobre las medidas de bioseguridad que se deben de mantener si manejan o son tutores de animales, sobre todo si las personas portan el SARS-COV-2, ha llevado a que el virus salte de los seres humanos a animales. El enfoque de Una Sola Salud desde la transdisciplinariedad debe emplearse para promover medidas precautorias que eviten la afectación de nuevas especies animales domésticas o silvestres por el virus, ya que tiene el potencial para adaptarse a nuevos reservorios tanto domésticos como silvestres.
... Dogs may also act as catalysts for social interactions, which may subsequently foster social capital (McNicholas and Collis, 2000;Wells, 2004). Social capital generally refers to the resources and benefits available to individuals or groups through their social connections (Kawachi, 2010). ...
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Evidence for social pathways to health benefits for dog owners appears positive but less well developed. Our study aimed to estimate the differences in social capital by dog ownership and dog walking status among young-to-middle aged adults and older adults in Japan. Data from 3,606 residents living in Japan were used. Data on social capital, dog ownership, and dog walking were collected by questionnaires. Age-stratified multivariable linear regression models were used to estimate differences in social capital scores by dog ownership and dog walking status. Among young-to-middle aged adults, the mean of the activities with neighbours score, adjusted for covariates, was significantly higher (p < 0.05) for the dog owner walkers group compared to the non-dog owners group. Among older adults, no significant differences in the marginal means of social capital scores were observed between the three groups of non-dog owners, dog owner non-walkers, and dog owner walkers. While the benefits of social capital for a healthy lifestyle have been well-documented, few means have been identified to intervene in social capital. Building on and expanding the known health benefits of dog ownership and dog walking, this study revealed modest support for the link between dog walking and activities with neighbours among young-to-middle aged adults, but no meaningful associations were found for older adults. Additionally, no significant link was observed between dog walking and social cohesion among either age group. Future research can further improve the use of dog-based behavioural health interventions for fostering social capital.
... Prior research also links gazing at and/or petting animals with increased oxytocin and/or vasopressin concentrations in adults [143,169]. Beetz et al. [140] proposed that the release of oxytocin, as a result of close/affiliative bonds with a pet, may mediate relations between HAI and positive outcomes, such as increased social interactions [17,180,181], decreases in cortisol levels [182], and improved mental health (e.g., decreases in anxiety and depressive symptoms; [183], see for a review [156]). In addition, stress-response benefits associated with oxytocin release are hypothesized to occur as a result of HAI due to the presence of a pet decreasing perceived threat [82,184,185]. ...
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There is a paucity of research exploring how relationships with household pets may impact maternal mental health. We are unaware of any study to date that has examined associations between individuals’ relationships with their pets and psychological adjustment in the perinatal period. Using a biobehavioral lens, this paper provides a narrative overview of the literature on perinatal mental health and human–animal interaction (HAI). We focus on the role of social relationships, stress, and stress reduction in relation to perinatal mental health; the role of HAI in perceptions of social support, stressors, and stress reduction; and gaps in empirical knowledge concerning the role of HAI in perinatal mental health. Finally, we integrate contemporary biobehavioral models of perinatal mental health and HAI (i.e., Comprehensive Model of Mental Health during the Perinatal Period and the HAI–HPA Transactional Model) to propose a new conceptual framework that depicts ways in which HAI during the perinatal period may influence maternal and child health and wellbeing. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to consider the role of HAI in biobehavioral responses and mental health during the perinatal period. We conclude with recommendations for future research and improved perinatal care.
... Those include college students (Binfet & Passmore, 2016;Crossman & Kazdin, 2015), nursing homes (Majic et al., 2013;Williams & Jenkins, 2008), cancer care (Marcus, 2012), psychotherapy ( Jones et al., 2018), elementary schools ( Jalongo et al., 2004), prisoners (Walsh & Mertin, 1994), palliative care centers (Chur-Hansen, et al., 2014), and workplaces (Foreman et al., 2017). Benefits are thought to include increased positive emotions and reduced anxiety (Crossman et al., 2018;Foreman et al., 2017), increased satisfaction with life and connectedness to campus (Binfet & Passmore, 2016), patient rapport with therapy (Kruger & Serpell, 2010;Jones et al., 2018), increased positive social interactions (Wells, 2004), and stabilized behavioral and psychological symptoms (Majic et al., 2013). ...
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Therapy dogs are used in a variety of settings, including prisons, hospitals, and schools, for the purposes of providing emotional and psychological support to humans. They are trained to be well behaved and to be perceived as supportive of humans. This study sought to explore the benefits to the human individuals who facilitate trained therapy sessions. Specifically considered were the ways in which therapy dog ownership is a form of serious leisure and the ways in which that leisure influences owners’ day-to-day lives. Findings suggest owners of therapy dogs experience enhanced personal enrichment, relationship with dog(s), and sense of responsibility. Implications for research and practice are discussed and include health-related components. FULL TEXT AVAILABLE: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/paij/vol3/iss1/5
... The content of the conversations was not analysed so the precise reason for this difference is unclear, however, the child may have identified the handler as the TD's owner, living with it and having a relationship with it and thus having more to say about it if questioned compared to the TR. Studies of the benefits of dog ownership have noted the "social catalyst effect", whereby the presence of a dog often increases the amount of social engagement an individual receives from other people resulting in a sense of increased wellbeing [57,58], and increased communication has similarly been evidenced in TR research [59]. Future work could profitably explore the role of social interaction within the AAI/RAI framework, ensuring that the children consider both TAaRs as owned by the handler. ...
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Social robots are being used increasingly across a range of settings, including in the context of therapeutic interactions with children. While research has shown that interaction with live therapy dogs can be calming and enjoyable for children, it is currently unclear whether social robots can produce similar outcomes. In this study, 11–12-year old children completed a questionnaire about their biophilic beliefs and attitudes to dogs and robots before engaging in two separate free-play, non-goal directed, non-therapeutic sessions with an interactive biomimetic MiRo-E robot and a living therapy dog in a controlled setting. Behavioural observations of social interaction, initiation and reaction behaviours by the child and dog/robot showed that participants spent a similar amount of time engaging in positive social touch with the robot and the dog, but overall more time interacting with the robot. This may be because the robot was more responsive to the children’s initiation behaviours. In self-report, participants significantly preferred the session with the living dog. However, overall enjoyment was high and more positive emotions were reported following interaction with the robot. The more participants attributed mental attributes and animacy to the dog/robot, the more they enjoyed the interactions, demonstrating that participants’ animistic beliefs were an important factor in their evaluations. Levels of social interaction did not correlate with enjoyment, suggesting that the nature of the interaction was less important than pre-existing participant attitudes in producing reported positive outcomes. Although there were some differences in behaviour and evaluations, these preliminary results suggest that MiRo-E provides a useful comparison to therapy dogs and may be a suitable alternative for use in interventions with children.
... Similar effects were found in children with visible disabilities in a mall or at a playground (Mader et al., 1989). People without disabilities also received more positive attention from strangers in public when they were accompanied by dogs (Wells, 2004). These results were found in a cultural context of Western civilization and cannot be generalized to cultures with different perceptions of animals (see also Bresalier et al.,Chapter 1,this volume). ...
Chapter
The second edition of this book contains 32 chapters divided into 4 main sections that discuss the theoretical foundations of One Health; methods, skills and perspectives for the practice of One Health; the application of One Health in infectious and non-infectious diseases and governance and capacity building, all of which are related to the global issues of the prevention and control of animal, plant and human diseases in the wake of drug resistance by pathogens, biodiversity loss, natural disasters, climate change and the recent COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.
Article
In human–animal studies, dogs are often framed as promoters of interactions among strangers. Yet very few of these studies discuss how racial structure shapes human-to-human engagement. Similarly, race scholarship and urban studies have failed to incorporate human–animal studies fully to better understand racial dynamics and inequality in U.S. cities. I use in-depth interview data from an 18-month study of Creekridge Park, an urban, multiracial, and mixed-income neighborhood in Durham, North Carolina, to explore the role of dogs for white residents. I focus on identifying if dogs helped bridge social differences between white residents and their Black and Latinx neighbors in a racially and economically diverse neighborhood. I find that while my white respondents shared many examples of dogs facilitating neighborly relationships and friendship, these relationships were largely between same-race individuals. By reinforcing a white, urban, middle-class habitus, white residents used dogs to maintain interracial boundaries and feelings of safety, as well as navigate racial-ethnic differences between themselves and their Black and Latinx neighbors. These findings point to the necessity of more research that addresses racial structure and human–animal studies to better understand contemporary urban spaces.
Article
When disasters strike, companion animals (pets) matter. Emergency planning for them is a key aspect of disaster preparedness, especially considering that people may delay evacuation out of concern for their pets. Temporary boarding options for pets are important; however, caregivers (owners) must ultimately return to permanent housing. Surprisingly little attention has been paid to housing recovery in the disaster literature on pet ownership, and no studies have examined the potential for increased vulnerability among tenants with pets. This study analyzed online rental listings in a city that was severely flooded in 2013. In the following year, demand for pet-friendly rental housing outweighed supply. Landlords frequently stipulated restrictions on the allowable sizes, species, or breeds of pets. Dogs were often banned outright. To keep their pets, prospective tenants needed to exercise flexibility in location and pay higher surcharges. The implications of housing insecurity for tenants with pets have broad relevance, not just in disaster circumstances. Giving up a companion animal to secure housing can negatively impact resilience, whereas living in unsafe environments to avoid pet relinquishment may increase vulnerability.
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.
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La relación humano-perro tiene una historia evolutiva particularmente extensa. Los primeros perros fueron utilizados como guardianes, guías y compañeros de caza, asumiendo luego roles cruciales en el desarrollo de la agricultura. Aunque tratados como subordinados, gradualmente fueron convirtiéndose en valorados compañeros. Actualmente constituyen el prototipo de animal de compañía, destacándose sus posibilidades de establecer una estrecha relación bidireccional con los humanos. Sin embargo, los vínculos entre humanos y animales han sido tradicionalmente excluidos de consideraciones académicas serias. Con el surgimiento de la antrozoología, hace poco más de 30 años, el estudio de las interacciones humano-animal comenzó su ininterrumpido crecimiento, principalmente en los países más desarrollados. Con el objetivo de describir la relación humano-perro en Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, se realizó un estudio transversal, mediante encuestas, que involucró a 425 participantes (hombres: 119; mujeres: 306) mayores de 21 años (M = 42.96, DE = 16.08), todos los cuales habían residido con sus perros de compañía por más de un año. Los participantes completaron un cuestionario sociodemográfico y seis medidas de la relación humano-perro: Interacción Dueño-Perro, Cercanía Emocional Percibida, Costos Percibidos, Antropomorfismo, Voluntad de Adaptación y Beneficios Percibidos. Todos los aspectos de la relación se asociaron entre sí excepto por Costos Percibidos, que sólo se asoció positivamente con la Voluntad de Adaptación y negativamente al Antropomorfismo. La tendencia al antropomorfismo fue el aspecto relacional que más se asoció con la percepción de relaciones humano-perro exitosas, en tanto resultó la única faceta de la relación asociada con la percepción de menores costos y de mayores beneficios. Por otro lado, el antropomorfismo no se relacionó con la cantidad de personas o hijos en la vivienda, mientras que sí lo hizo intensamente con la Cercanía Emocional Percibida. Las mujeres manifestaron mayores niveles de proximidad emocional y antropomorfismo, pero no difirieron de los hombres en las demás variables relacionales. La edad de los custodios se asoció con menor percepción de costos y de intensidad en las interacciones con el perro. La menor edad de los hijos se asoció con menor cercanía emocional y mayor percepción de costos. Los perros de mayor tamaño resultaron más beneficiosos, aunque no más costosos para sus custodios. La raza de los perros y su estado reproductivo no mostraron relación con la intensidad de la relación, más que una leve asociación entre raza de perro y comportamientos ligados a la identidad social o estatus del custodio. Los resultados destacaron que la relación con los perros era concebida como un vínculo de familia, de elevada proximidad afectiva e intensidad en las interacciones, por el que los custodios estaban dispuestos a afrontar múltiples costos. Las descripciones realizadas permitieron identificar estrategias para fomentar relaciones humano-perro más exitosas, así como intervenciones ligadas al bienestar de humanos y perros. En suma, esta investigación se propone contribuir a destacar la relevancia y legitimidad del estudio de las interacciones humano-animal.
Chapter
La fragmentación del Sistema de Salud Mexicano se debe a que las diversas instituciones atienden a la población dependiendo de si trabajan en la iniciativa privada o en el sector público. Así, el acceso a la atención médica en México no es universal. Por lo anterior, se ha buscado descentralizar la provisión de salud por medio de organismos, pertenecientes a gobiernos locales, que reciben recursos por parte de la federación. Ante la pandemia del COVID-19, la estructura anterior ha creado problemas de coordinación entre organismos de gobierno e instituciones clínicas, lo que a su vez ha generado asignaciones de recursos prioritarios, para la atención de la pandemia, que no son socialmente justas. En el presente capítulo, analizamos las interacciones microeconómicas que ocurren en el sistema de salud mexicano para la asignación justa de recursos sanitarios en una contingencia sanitaria. Puesto que los bienes sanitarios son recursos comunes, desde la perspectiva económica, sobre los cuales los mecanismos de mercado tienden a generar asignaciones injustas, proponemos el algoritmo de Aceptación Diferida Anidada para resolver los problemas de coordinación entre organismos sanitarios de diferentes niveles de gobierno y los hospitales. El mecanismo anterior genera una asignación justa, que no es manipulable y es la mejor para la asignación de recursos a los hospitales.
Article
Therapy and visitation dogs are becoming more common on college campuses to provide comfort and support to students, but little attention has been given to the concerns of faculty and staff who share space with the dogs in their workplaces. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions of faculty and staff with regard to both the benefits and the hazards (e.g., dander, bites, fleas) and risks associated with the presence of visitation dogs in their workplaces. One hundred and thirty-eight employees who worked in buildings with resident visitation dogs completed an online survey about their perceptions of the hazards and risks of the dogs and the effects of dogs on the wellbeing of both students and employees. In general, employees perceived that the dogs presented minimal risks, and most employees believed that they can reduce stress and provide comfort to students on campus. There were a few employees, however, who reported that the dogs did not improve the work environment and conferred no benefits to the staff or students. The findings of the present survey support the mostly positive attitudes that people have for dogs in the workplace, but they also highlight a potential challenge: accommodating individuals who believe very strongly that dogs do not belong in work environments.
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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.
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Lisa Maria Glenk analysiert die Spezifika der Mensch-Hund-Beziehung hinsichtlich ihrer Passung auf TGI sowie die Auswirkungen auf die einbezogenen Hunde. Sie thematisiert zum Beispiel die von einer üblichen vertrauten Hund-Halter_in-Bindung abweichende ‚Fremdheit‘ der Hund-Klient_in-Beziehung in vielen tiergestützten Maßnahmen. Aus einer ersten Analyse einschlägiger internationaler experimenteller Daten zum Wohlbefinden von Interventionsbegleithunden – institutionszugehörige und Besuchshunde – extrahiert die Autorin zentrale Voraussetzungen für eine Gewährleistung von „animal welfare“ in TGI und formuliert eine Reihe wichtiger offener Forschungsfragen zu dieser bisher leider kaum beachten Dimension tiergestützter Arbeit.
Article
This article aims to encourage the critical reflection of frequently used explanatory approaches in the field of animal-assisted interventions. In addition to considerations on validity and limitations of explanatory approaches, they are considered on the basis of scientific quality criteria. The following explanatory approaches are investigated: Biophilia, du-evidence, mirror neurons, oxytocin, attachment theory, social catalyst. In addition, suggestions are made for dealing with the presented explanatory approaches. A critical examination of the explanatory approaches in the field of research should make it possible to improve publications in this area in the long term.
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Este libro busca analizar el impacto producido por el SARS-COV-2, causante de la COVID-19. Dentro de un marco interdisciplinario y con enfoque específico en la salud. El manuscrito comienza con la descripción del posible origen y características biológicas del SARS-COV-2, cuestiones que, la comunidad científica respondió con una velocidad vertiginosa en el transcurso del año anterior: la generación de conocimiento fue tan rápida que en pocos días se tenía ya reportada la secuencia completa del virus. En los primeros capítulos, se abordarán temas importantes como las complicaciones pulmonares y extrapulmonares, las consecuencias psicológicas, alimentarias y educativas; así como los cambios concernientes a la contaminación atmosférica y los que se han producido en relación a la convivencia con animales por el confinamiento. En otros capítulos no menos importantes, se describirán las declaraciones, normas y códigos relacionados con la ética e investigación en el área de la salud, que ante el panorama que enfrentamos han sido fundamentales para establecer los protocolos clínicos que enmarcan la búsqueda de nuevos fármacos y la atención médica. Se analizará en particular, la atención que actualmente reciben los pacientes infantiles con cáncer en una institución de beneficencia que brinda cuidados integrales. Se abordará también el tema relativo a las secuelas psicológicas en los trabajadores de la salud en el contexto de un hospital público del estado de Puebla y por último se comentará sobre la asignación de recursos en el sistema. En su conjunto, este estudio representa el marco de las próximas decisiones en políticas públicas para lograr una interacción armónica entre el hombre, los animales y su ambiente.
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Abstract: University students have been found to have higher rates of psychological distress than that of the general population, which reportedly rises significantly upon starting university and does not return to pre-university levels throughout their time in university. It is therefore highly important to find ways to improve student health and well-being. One way that may help is by interacting with animals. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether interacting with a dog would have a positive effect on university students' mood and anxiety. This study assigned 82 university students to either the experimental condition (dog interaction, n = 41) or to the control condition (dog video, n = 41). The students completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Expanded Form (PANAS-X), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Pet Attitude Scale before their assigned conditions, to evaluate their mood and anxiety levels and attitudes to animals. The participants again completed the STAI and PANAS-X Form after their condition, to assess for possible changes in anxiety and mood. The findings of the study indicated that all participants, regardless of condition, experienced a reduction in their anxiety and an improvement in their mood across time. However, directly interacting with a dog resulted in greater declines in anxiety and improved mood scores, more so than watching a video. Consequently, it appears there are psychological benefits to be gained by students from interacting with dogs and it is hoped this study will help to inform future best practices in designing student dog interventions.
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La pandemia de la COVID-19 representa una enorme crisis de salud que ha afectado a varias naciones, con más de 88.8 millones de casos y 1.91 millones de muertes confirmadas hasta la fecha. La pandemia se ha configurado como una importante amenaza al bienestar físico y además ha provocado peligrosas afectaciones a la salud mental. La evidencia actual ha mostrado los diversos problemas psicológicos y consecuencias sufridas en la población general incluyendo ansiedad, estrés, depresión, trastorno de estrés postraumático y angustia psicológica. Así mismo se han identificado factores de riesgo asociados a un mayor impacto psicológico, destacando el confinamiento, la alteración a la economía, el desempleo y el futuro incierto. Debido a que el fin de la pandemia no es claro aún en el futuro cercano, las consecuencias negativas continuarán reflejando, por lo que resulta necesario aplicar un enfoque multidisciplinario que no se dirija exclusivamente a la salud física, sino también a la salud mental para mitigar los efectos negativos.
Article
Background Dog-assisted therapy (DAT) is increasingly applied in neurorehabilitation of patients with severe neurological impairments. To date, there are only anecdotal reports investigating its effects. Objectives This study was aimed to evaluate the potential of DAT in pediatric inpatient neurorehabilitation for severely neurologically impaired children and adolescents, to identify characteristics of patients receiving this therapy, characteristics of the therapy sessions, and to evaluate feasibility and extent of goal achievement. Methods We retrospectively analyzed 850 DAT sessions performed between 2010 and 2017 at an inpatient neurorehabilitation center. The dataset included 196 children and adolescents (Md = 5.50, 0.58–20.33 years) suffering from severe neurological impairments (disorders of consciousness in 37 patients) of various etiologies. We extracted information regarding patient and session characteristics, analyzed the predefined goals with content analysis, and examined to what extent the goals were met during DAT. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results Patients received an average of 4.34 therapy sessions. A total of 247 of 392 predefined goals (63%) were reached during DAT. The most frequently achieved goal was “enhancing fun” (83%), followed by “establishing contact and communication” (81%), and “relaxation” (71%). Only one critical incident regarding the dogs' safety occurred. Conclusion DAT is a feasible approach and appears to facilitate emotional, social, and psychological goals in children and adolescents with severe neurological impairment.
Article
This paper draws on a study of companion animals in human households and public spaces, deploying material gained by ethnographic observation and interviews with dog walkers in urban and rural contexts. The communities which are the subject of this study frequent public places that might be described as "Edgeland" space where dogs and "dog people" meet. It is argued the relationships between cross-species packs of people and dogs that develop over time in the routine practice of walking are micro-communities inclusive of both dogs and their human companions. These might be understood as posthuman social forms with particular characteristics of inclusivity, diversity, and reconstitution. Human members of such communities are also invested in, and defensive of, Edgeland spaces and engaged in practices of care for both human and canine walkers.
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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.
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In order to examine pet ownership and pet attachment as factors supporting the health of the elderly, a national probability sample of Americans 65 years of age and older was drawn. Participants answered telephone survey questions regarding pet ownership, life stress, social support, depression, and recent illness. In multiple regression analyses, pet ownership failed to predict depression and illness behavior, while pet attachment significantly predicted depression but not illness experience. In a group with particularly great distress (the bereaved), pet ownership and strong attachment were significantly associated with less depression only when the number of available confidants was minimal.
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Autonomic responses were measured while 45 adult women performed a standard experimental stress task in the laboratory with only the experimenter present and 2 weeks later at home in the presence of a female friend, pet dog, or neither. Results demonstrated that autonomic reactivity was moderated by the presence of a companion, the nature of whom was critical to the size and direction of the effect. Ss in the friend condition exhibited higher physiological reactivity and poorer performance than subjects in the control and pet conditions. Ss in the pet condition showed less physiological reactivity during stressful tasks than Ss in the other conditions. The results are interpreted in terms of the degree to which friends and pets are perceived as evaluative during stressful task performance. Physiological reactivity was consistent across the laboratory and field settings.
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The findings of this study confirm the independent importance of social factors in the determination of health status. Social data obtained during patients' hospitalization can be valuable in discriminating 1-year survivors. These social data can add to the prognostic discrimination beyond the effects of the well-known physiological predictors. More information is needed about all forms of human companionship and disease. Thus, it is important that future investigations of prognosis in various disease states include measures of the patient's social and psychological status with measures of disease severity. The phenomenon of pet ownership and the potential value of pets as a source of companionship activity or attention deserved more careful attention that that recorded in the literature. Almost half of the homes in the United States have some kind of pet. Yet, to our knowledge, no previous studies have included pet ownership among the social variables examined to explain disease distribution. Little cost is incurred by the inclusion of pet ownership in such studies, and it is certainly by the importance of pets in the lives of people today and the long history of association between human beings and companion animals. The existence of pets as important household members should be considered by those who are responsible for medical treatment. The need to care for a pet or to arrange for its care may delay hospitalization; it may also be a source of concern for patients who are hospitalized. Recognition of this concern by physicians, nurses, and social workers may alleviate emotional stress among such patients. The therapeutic uses of pets have been considered for patients hospitalized with mental illnesses and the elderly. The authors suggest that patients with coronary heart disease should also be included in this consideration. Large numbers of older patients with coronary heart disease are socially isolated and lonely. While it is not yet possible to conclude that pet ownership is beneficial to these patients, pets are an easily attainable source of psychological comfort with relatively few risks.
Book
The original edition was the first book to provide a comprehensive overview of the ways in which animals can assist therapists with treatment of specific populations, and/or in specific settings. The second edition continues in this vein, with 7 new chapters plus substantial revisions of continuing chapters as the research in this field has grown. New coverage includes: Animals as social supports, Use of AAT with Special Needs students, the role of animals in the family- insights for clinicians, and measuring the animal-person bond. *Contributions from veterinarians, animal trainers, psychologists, and social workers *Includes guidelines and best practices for using animals as therapeutic companions *Addresses specific types of patients and environmental situations.
Article
Although the socializing role of dogs for people has been well documented, the effectiveness of less active animals in precipitating social interactions is not known. This study examined whether a rabbit or a turtle when accompanied by a young woman confederate sitting in a park would attract unfamiliar adults and children and result in social interchange. For comparison, the woman also sat blowing bubbles or with an operating television set. Behaviors of the approaching adults and children were noted, and conversations were tape recorded. Social approaches were frequent when the woman was sitting with the rabbit or blowing bubbles, were numerous when she was sitting with the turtle, and were virtually absent when she was watching television. The rabbit attracted the most adults. Approaching adults and children talked primarily about the stimulus and themselves and made few references to the confederate. In a friendly community setting and without special effort or obvious need by the confederate, unobtrusive animals evoked social approaches and conversations from unfamiliar adults and children.
Article
The evidence that people form strong attachments with their pets is briefly reviewed before identifying the characteristics of such relationships, which include pets being a source of security as well as the objects of caregiving. In evolutionary terms, pet ownership poses a problem, since attachment and devoting resources to another species are, in theory, fitness-reducing. Three attempts to account for pet keeping are discussed, as are the problems with these views. Pet keeping is placed into the context of other forms of interspecific associations. From this, an alternative Darwinian explanation is proposed: pets are viewed as manipulating human responses that had evolved to facilitate human relationships, primarily (but not exclusively) those between parent and child. The precise mechanisms that enable pets to elicit caregiving from humans are elaborated. They involve features that provide the initial attraction, such as neotenous characteristics, and those that enable the human owner to derive continuing satisfaction from interacting with the pet, such as the attribution of mental processes to human-like organisms. These mechanisms can, in some circumstances, cause pet owners to derive more satisfaction from their pet relationship than those with humans, because they supply a type of unconditional relationship that is usually absent from those with other human beings.
Article
This study investigated the effects of animal-assisted therapy (A-AT) on self-reported depression in a college population. Forty-four participants were selected on the basis of scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). They then were assigned to one of three groups: A-AT in conjunction with psychotherapy (directive group), A-AT only (nondirective group), and control. Standardized regressed BDI posttest scores were used as dependent variables in one-way analysis of variance with treatment as the independent variable. Results revealed significant differences among groups, F(2,41)=3.69, p<.05. Duncan's Multiple Ranges Test indicated that standardized regressed BDI post-test scores differed significantly between nondirective (M=5.67) and control groups (M=10.18).
Article
Five major British daily newspapers (4 broadsheets and 1 tabloid) and their related Sunday editions were monitored over a 5-year period (1988 to 1992 inclusive) to locate articles on dog attacks on humans. From 1989 to 1991 (inclusive) there was intense media interest in dog attacks whereas in 1988 and 1992 there was little. In 1989 and 1990, German Shepherds and Rottweilers were most often reported as the attacking dog but the Rottweiler suffered disproportionate negative publicity. Breed registration figures reflected the media interest with a dramatic drop in Rottweiler numbers. In 1991, the American Pit Bull Terrier was most often in the news and the government hastily introduced new dog legislation, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. It is suggested that the media, public, and government response is an overreaction to the generally held ideal that the dog's position in society is as a loyal and faithful companion. The dog's position in society therefore appears to be inherently unstable. With real or even perceived increases in unacceptable behavior by these animals, the species, or at the very least certain breeds of dog, could rapidly lose public favor and acceptance.
Article
Approaches by human passers-by to a Golden Retriever puppy with a human companion were tallied as the puppy aged from ten weeks to 33 weeks. Over this period, approaches were most numerous when the puppy was youngest, with females approaching more than males during the first half of sampling, but equaling male approaches during the second half. Both the number of human approaches and the proportions of males and females were independent of the sex of the puppy's human companion. The results suggest a human, and especially a female, preference for canine juvenescence.
Article
Social stimulation is a valuable aspect of therapeutic activities at long-term care facilities, designed to decrease social isolation, maintain or stimulate mental abilities, and increase awareness of the external environment. A study was undertaken at two such facilities to compare the effectiveness of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) with Non-Animal Therapy (NAT) at providing social stimulation, that is, at providing opportunities for patients to engage in social interaction and to initiate social behaviors. While studies have indicated that AAT can improve resident outlook or affect, few have directly studied the social behaviors that might lead to such improvements, or the role the animals themselves might play. We observed 33 patients, both alert and semi- to non-alert, during regular recreational therapy sessions. Most patients were women (29 vs. four men), and geriatric (in their 70's and 80's). Non-Animal Therapies included Arts and Crafts and Snack Bingo, while AAT involved animals from local animal shelters being brought by volunteers to group sessions. Social behaviors naturally divided into Brief Conversations, Long Conversations, and Touch. We determined frequencies and rates of the behaviors, who initiated the behaviors and whether the behaviors were directed at other people or at the animals. Overall, during AAT residents were involved in as much or more conversation with others, including the animals, as residents in Non-Animal Therapy, and were more likely to initiate and participate in longer conversations. The finding that different kinds of therapies seem to encourage different kinds of conversation might be an important consideration when investigating health benefits. The most dramatic differences between therapy types were found in rates of touch: touching the animals during AAT added significantly to resident engagement in, and initiation of, this behavior. Since touch is considered an important part of social stimulation and therapy, the enhancement of this social behavior by the animals is an important, and perhaps undervalued, effect.
Article
Every year sees an increase in the number of dogs admitted to rescue shelters. However well these dogs are cared for in the shelter it cannot be ignored that being in such a situation is stressful and the time spent in the shelter may change the dogs' behaviour which may in turn influence their chances of being bought from the shelter. This research examined the behaviour of stray and unwanted dogs on their first, third and fifth days in an Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) shelter. A questionnaire was also distributed to members of the public to determine how popular the USPCA was as a place from where to purchase a dog, and what factors about a dog's physical characteristics, behaviour and environment influenced potential buyers. Results revealed no significant difference between the behaviour of stray and unwanted dogs although the public viewed stray dogs as much less desirable than unwanted dogs. Time in the shelter had no adverse effects on the dogs' behaviour. Indeed those changes which did occur during captivity, dogs being more relaxed in the presence of people and eating food more quickly, may be considered as positive changes. The USPCA was viewed as a popular place from which to buy a dog. Off actors influencing the public's choice, the dog's environment and behaviour appeared more important than its physical characteristics. The presence of a toy in the dog's cage greatly increased the public's preference for the dog, although the toy was ignored by the dog. The welfare implications of sheltering dogs are discussed
Article
Despite the widespread ownership of pet animals in American families, there is very little analysis of the role of pets in child development. This paper will examine the influence of pet animals on child development; the impact of pet loss and bereavement on children; the problem of child cruelty to animals and its relationship to child abuse; and the role of pets in both normal and disturbed families. The authors will also review their own research study of adult prisoners and juveniles in institutions in regard to their experiences with pet animals.
Article
Topics include: importance of pets in quality of life and for some vulnerable individuals (effects of companion animals on loneliness and depression, socializing effects of animals, motivating effects of animals, effects of animals in mobilizing attention and calming); normalizing effects of animals (facilitating normal development, ameliorating emotional crises and extenuating circumstances); and individuality in human responses to animals (personal history with animals during the life cycle, attachment and compatibility). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
150 boys and 150 girls between the ages of 3 and 13 yrs were individually interviewed using a series of open-ended questions to analyze the Ss' attitudes toward their pets. It was hypothesized that (1) the cognitive elements would progress from preoperational to concrete operations at 7 yrs of age and to formal operations at 13 yrs of age, (2) the affective elements would progress from egocentricity to empathy and perspective taking, and (3) behavioral elements would progress from dependence on situational cues to caring behavior based on realistically assessed characteristics of pets. Although data support the 2nd and 3rd hypotheses, the cognitive elements progressed only from preoperational to concrete operations. There was no evidence that the 13-yr-olds had entered the formal operations stage. Other data indicate that 90% owned pets but 99.3% wanted pets, a significant indication of children's overall positive attitude toward pets. (40 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Discusses the role of selection based on particular human propensities in the evolution of artifacts. Changes in teddy bear appearance since 1903 are related to K. Lorenz's (1950) suggestion that certain key features elicit nurturance and affection and that dolls and cartoon characters are influenced by this dynamic. (5 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The effect of the presence of a friendly animal on children's blood pressures and heart rates while resting and their cardiovascular responses to verbalization were examined. The presence of the dog resulted in lower blood pressures both while the children (N = 38) were resting and while they were reading. The effect of the presence of the dog was greater when the dog was present initially than when it was introduced in the second half of the experiment. We speculate that the animal causes the children to modify their perceptions of the experimental situation and the experimenter by making both less threatening and more friendly. This study provides insight into the use of pets as adjuncts in psychotherapy. (C) Williams & Wilkins 1983. All Rights Reserved.
Article
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.
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Queen's University of Belfast, 1996.
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
Recent research on human-dog interactions showed that talking to and petting a dog are accompanied by lower blood pressure (BP) in the person than human conversation. To clarify whether cognition, conditioning, or tactual contact exerted the major influence in this so-called "pet effect," 60 male and female undergraduates with either positive or neutral attitudes toward dogs interacted with a dog tactually, verbally, and visually while BP and heart rate were recorded automatically. Results revealed that (a) subjects' BP levels were lowest during dog petting, higher while talking to the dog, and highest while talking to the experimenter and (b) subjects' heart rates were lower while talking or touching the dog and higher while both touching and talking to the dog. Touch appeared to be major component of the pet effect, while cognitive factors contributed to a lesser degree. Implications for coping with hypertension are discussed, and suggestions for further research are stated.
Article
Blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate were recorded in 24 subjects during 3 9-minute measurement sessions in which they petted an unknown dog, petted a dog with whom a companion bond had been established, or read quietly. Based on the findings of this study, several conclusions were drawn: (1) There is a significant difference in changes over time in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure between petting a dog with whom a companion bond has been established and petting a dog with whom no bond exists; (2) the decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure that occur during petting a dog with whom a companion bond has been established parallel the relaxation effect of quiet reading; and (3) there is a " greeting response" to the entry of a dog with whom a companion bond has been established, which results in significantly higher systolic and diastolic pressures than the response either to an unknown dog or to reading.
Article
Social support and pet ownership, a nonhuman form of social support, have both been associated with increased coronary artery disease survival. The independent effects of pet ownership, social support, disease severity, and other psychosocial factors on 1-year survival after acute myocardial infarction are examined prospectively. The Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial provided physiologic data on a group of post-myocardial infarction patients with asymptomatic ventricular arrhythmias. An ancillary study provided psychosocial data, including pet ownership, social support, recent life events, future life events, anxiety, depression, coronary prone behavior, and expression of anger. Subjects (n = 424) were randomly selected from patients attending participating Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial sites and completed baseline psychosocial questionnaires. One year survival data were obtained from 369 patients (87%), of whom 112 (30.4%) owned pets and 20 (5.4%) died. Logistic regression indicates that high social support (p < 0.068) and owning a pet (p = 0.085) tend to predict survival independent of physiologic severity and demographic and other psychosocial factors. Dog owners (n = 87, 1 died) are significantly less likely to die within 1 year than those who did not own dogs (n = 282, 19 died; p < 0.05); amount of social support is also an independent predictor of survival (p = 0.065). Both pet ownership and social support are significant predictors of survival, independent of the effects of the other psychosocial factors and physiologic status. These data confirm and extend previous findings relating pet ownership and social support to survival among patients with coronary artery disease.
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the presence of friends, spouses, and pets on cardiovascular reactivity to psychological and physical stress. Cardiovascular reactivity was examined among 240 married couples, half of whom owned a pet. Mental arithmetic and cold pressor were performed in one of four randomly assigned social support conditions: alone, with pet or friend (friend present for non-pet owners), with spouse, with spouse and pet/friend. Relative to people without pets, people with pets had significantly lower heart rate and blood pressure levels during a resting baseline, significantly smaller increases (ie, reactivity) from baseline levels during the mental arithmetic and cold pressor, and faster recovery. Among pet owners, the lowest reactivity and quickest recovery was observed in the pet-present conditions. People perceive pets as important, supportive parts of their lives, and significant cardiovascular and behavioral benefits are associated with those perceptions.
Dogs as human companions: a review of the relationship
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