ArticleLiterature Review

The influence of animals on the development of children

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Abstract

There is a widespread belief that interaction with an animal is beneficial for the development of children, and several studies (most with methodological shortcomings) have investigated the influence of (companion) animals on the social-emotional and cognitive development of children. In this article, the 1984 model of Professor Jay Belsky has been used to describe which variables influence the development of children and how the companion animal-child interaction influences these variables. The value of the AAA/AAT (Animal Assisted Activities/Animal Assisted Therapy) programmes in children with a wide variety of clinical and social problems, such as behaviour problems and autistic spectrum symptoms, is discussed. The findings suggest that (companion) animals positively influence children's development and have a valuable role in therapy.

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... Especially when the quality of the relationship of children with their pets is considered a common variable, it is observed that attitudes towards animals spread towards empathy for people. Therefore, it is thought that empathetic skills of people in perceiving the needs of animals create a transfer effect on empathic skills and tendency established with humans (Endenburg & Van Lith, 2011;Longobardi & Badenes-Ribera, 2019;Renck-Jalongo, 2018;Sobko et al., 2018). ...
... Studies conducted on the relevant subject suggest the fact that the children in the houses, where pets such as cats and dogs are kept have higher empathetic skills, and especially the cognitive and emotional role skills, compared to the empathetic skills of children in houses, where pets are not fed; that the empathetic tendency increases with establishing close ties with pets, and that children, who keep pets at home, are more empathetic than children, who do not (Akdemir & Gölge, 2020;Arıkan et al., 2019;Endenburg & Van Lith 2011;Hachey & Butler, 2012;Hawkins & Williams, 2017;Longobardi & Badenes-Libara, 2019;Renck-Jalongo, 2018;Rothgerber & Mican, 2014;Sobko et al., 2018;Thompson & Gullone, 2008;Tu, 2006;Uttley, 2013). ...
... Parents often buy a pet for their children can play with and care for. Parents think that keeping a pet helps their children with becoming more responsible and social and improves their character (Endenburg & Van Lith, 2011;Simonic, 2015). It is known that human-animal interaction has a positive effect on children's empathy skills. ...
Article
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The present study was carried out to investigate the empathetic tendencies of children with regard to keeping a pet at home and playing a musical instrument. The study was carried out with a total of 139 children, 72 girls and 67 boys, attending the third-fourth and fifth grades of a foundation primary school located in the city center of Denizli in Turkey. In the study, a Personal Information Form as developed by the researchers was used with an aim to obtain information about the child and family, and the "KA-Sİ Empathetic Tendency Scale for Children and Adolescents - Children's Form" was used in order to determine the empathetic tendency of children. Parametric (t-Test, One-Way Variance Analysis (ANOVA) and non-parametric (Mann-Whitney, Kuruskal Wallis) tests were applied based on whether the data demonstrated a normal distribution or not, in order to determine if the empathetic tendencies of children differ by the variables of keeping a pet and playing a musical instrument at home. As a result of the research; it was found that the variables of keeping a pet at home and playing a musical instrument were associated with a significant difference in the mean scores of children's empathetic tendency (p <0.05).Children can be given responsibilities about keeping pets, which makes important contribution to empathetic skill; children can be oriented to musical activities in line with their interests, and studies can be conducted with an aim to raise awareness of parents and the close environment.
... The majority of studies included in this review involved the use of dogs; however, other animals, such as fish, dolphins, and horses, have also been utilized. 7,14 Endenburgh and van Lith noted that systematic research concerning threats to the welfare of therapy and service animals is currently lacking, but did cite multiple studies [15][16][17][18] suggesting that factors in the environment or working condition may elevate the stress levels of dogs and other AAT animals. Burrows et al in a qualitative investigation of the use of therapy dogs in intervention programs for children with ASD, stressed the need to balance the welfare of the animal with the welfare of the child participants. ...
... Multiple investigators have stressed the importance of directly addressing the welfare of service and therapy animals in future research. 1,15,19 The literature on AAT research includes several studies that are particularly relevant to the primary purpose of the current case study, examining the effect of AAT on vocalizations in a child with severe language impairment. One study included children who exhibited impairments solely in the area of language, while other studies included children with impairments in more than one developmental domain. ...
... Although the research described above 1,[15][16][17][18][19] illustrates the emergence of scholarship addressing the establishment of optimal AAT practices and the impact of AAT on human communication behaviors, additional research is needed in both areas. Nimer and Lundahl conducted a meta-analysis of AAT studies that revealed positive outcomes associated with AAT across a variety of study designs, participant types, and sample sizes. 1 However, in their study, Nimer and Lundahl noted a gap in the literature concerning optimal AAC practices for specific populations or settings; this gap was directly addressed by the present case study. ...
Article
Background: The application of animal assisted therapy (AAT) in provision of services is an emerging area of research in the allied health literature. Prior investigators have called for additional research concerning applications of animal assisted therapy in specific settings and patient populations. Objectives: to (a) investigate the effect of animal assisted therapy on the quantity of vocalizations in a single child participant with severe speech delay, and (b) identify optimal animal assisted therapy practices in pediatric group speech-language therapy. Design: A case study was conducted using ABA single-case design. The number of vocalizations produced by the participant was measured for 15-minute periods during four initial baseline (no animal assisted therapy) sessions, four sessions with the intervention condition (animal assisted therapy), and three additional baseline (no animal assisted therapy) sessions. Observations were also recorded concerning the interactions between the animal assisted therapy team, the participant, and other children in the group. Results: The number of vocalizations increased markedly during the intervention phase, and the effect was nonreversible. The participant also demonstrated increased attention to tasks and activities during the intervention phase. An increase in unpredictable, forceful movements by the participant and other children was observed after 10-minutes. Conclusions: Although the same degree of increase in vocalizations is not expected for every child exposed to animal assisted therapy, results suggest that animal assisted therapy is a potentially valuable tool for speech-language pathologists working with children who have severe delays in communication skills. Recommendations for future research include consideration of time limits for animal assisted therapy interventions, detailed advance planning with the handler to minimize stressors for the animal assisted therapy team, and ensuring adequate adult personnel for data collection and management of the intervention sessions.
... Αναφ. στο Endenburg & Lith, 2011) το οποίο είναι ένα μοντέλο διαδικασίας, για να εξηγεί τις μεταβλητές που επηρεάζουν την ανάπτυξη των παιδιών Τα παιδιά πρέπει να έρθουν σε επαφή με εργασίες που σχετίζονται με τη γνωστική, τη συναισθηματική αλλά και την κοινωνική ανάπτυξη οι οποίες ουσιαστικά αντιπροσωπεύουν ορόσημα στην ανάπτυξή τους. Σύμφωνα με τον Belsky (1984 οπ. ...
... αναφ. στο Endenburg & Lith, 2011), τρεις είναι οι βασικοί τομείς των μεταβλητών που αλληλεπιδρούν για να επηρεάσουν αυτή τη διαδικασία: (1) τα χαρακτηριστικά του παιδιού, (2) οι προσωπικές ψυχολογικές πηγές από τους γονείς και (3) οι πηγές του άγχους και οι υποστήριξη που τους παρέχεται. Τα χαρακτηριστικά του παιδιού περιλαμβάνουν (τουλάχιστον εν μέρει) καθορισμένους παράγοντες (όπως είναι η ιδιοσυγκρασία και η νοημοσύνη), που επηρεάζουν την ανάπτυξη του παιδιού, είναι σχετικά σταθεροί και επηρεάζονται ελάχιστα από άλλες μεταβλητές όπως είναι η γονική μέριμνα. ...
... Επίσης, το «κοινωνικό δίκτυο» και οι «συνομήλικοι» μπορεί να έχουν σημαντικό ρόλο. Τα κοινωνικά δίκτυα μπορεί να είναι για παράδειγμα μία θρησκευτική ομάδα, οι συνάδελφοι ή οι αθλητικοί σύλλογοι και σαφώς διαφέρουν ανάλογα με το άτομο (Endenburg & Lith, 2011). ...
Article
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Νowadays, the important effect that animals have on the emotional, social and cognitive development of children is accepted. Our study is part of a program implemented in preschool children during the school year 2019-2020 with the main goal of raising the awareness of children, parents and teachers toward pets. Our research concerns the attitudes and perceptions of preschool children, parents and teachers about pet. In our article, through the relevant bibliographic review, reference is made to the benefits that humans have from their interaction with the pet and it is presented the relationship between pets and children. The research part analyzes the attitudes and perceptions that children have towards animals and in more detail, we study the influence that pets have on preschool children.
... Freud's psychoanalysis drastically changed patient care ideals and virtually eliminated the presence of animals as therapeutic agents (Endenburg & van Lith, 2011;Kruger & Serpell, 2006;Serpell, 2015). ...
... Levinson stumbled upon the positive effects of including his pet dog in therapy sessions with a child who was nonverbal (Endenburg & van Lith, 2011;Netting et al., 1987;Serpell, 2015). Now referred to as the founder of pet-facilitated therapy, Levinson documented his experiences through a series of case studies in his 1969 book, Pet-Oriented Child Psychotherapy Pally et al., 2010;Serpell, 2015). ...
... Now referred to as the founder of pet-facilitated therapy, Levinson documented his experiences through a series of case studies in his 1969 book, Pet-Oriented Child Psychotherapy Pally et al., 2010;Serpell, 2015). While many within the psychological community remained skeptical, Levinson engaged in and encouraged others to systematically study the therapeutic benefits of human-animal interaction (Endenburg & van Lith, 2011;Netting et al., 1987). In 1977, several significant research and professional organizations, such as the Center on Interactions of Animals and Society and Delta ...
Thesis
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While the popularity of animal-assisted interventions (AAI) continues to increase, the empirical support to justify its use is still debatable. What is also largely absent from the extant literature are large-scale examinations of clinician populations that may incorporate AAI in their practices. This survey study was conducted to examine the use, perceptions, and knowledge of animal incorporation practices incorporated into ABA services by ABA clinicians that serve children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A total of 544 ABA clinicians within the United States completed the web-based survey instrument. Data confirmed that respondents have not only considered the incorporation of animals into ABA services, but a meaningful number have also engaged in animal incorporation practices. Dogs were the most frequently incorporated animal with intervention and animal characteristics variable across respondents. Respondents reported animal incorporation as desirable and feasible, but had generally low levels of knowledge about animal-assisted interventions. Perceptions of the effects of human-animal interactions on children and youth with ASD were overall positive. Results of this study uncovered a number of concerns related to professional implications and animal welfare.
... In particular, pets may play a role in 2 of 14 the social-emotional development of children, such as in the development of self-esteem, autonomy, and empathy for others [3]. Attachment to a pet may impact emotional development [4]. A positive relationship between emotional bonds with pets and youth social-emotional outcomes has been reported [5]. ...
... Interacting positively with a dog has been suggested to increase confidence and decrease the fear of rejection in social interactions with other children [38]. Pets can facilitate social interaction between children [4]. However, a prospective study has suggested that a strong bond with a dog results in less time spent with others [39]. ...
Article
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Pets may play a role in the social-emotional development of children. In particular, some studies have suggested that family dog ownership is associated with better health outcomes. To date, no study has assessed child development in association with dog ownership of different time points. The purpose of the current study was primary to investigate whether “ever” family dog ownership was associated with early child development, and secondary to further examine whether associations between family dog ownership and early child development differ among family dog ownership of status, including “past only”, “current only”, and “always” groups, using the data of family dog ownership obtained at multiple time points. Associations between family dog ownership and infant development at 3 years of age were examined using data from a nationwide prospective birth cohort study, the Japan Environment and Children’s Study (n = 78,941). “Ever” family dog ownership was categorized to “past only”, “current only”, and “always”. We observed that children with “ever” family dog ownership showed a significantly decreased risk of developmental delay in the communication (odds ratio [OR] = 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.78, 0.96), gross motor (OR = 0.83; 95% CI: 0.76, 0.92), problem-solving (OR = 0.89; 95% CI: 0.83, 0.96) and personal-social (OR = 0.86; 95% CI: 0.72, 0.92) domains compared to children with “never” family dog ownership. Furthermore, a significantly decreased risk of developmental delay in gross motor function was observed in association with living with dogs in the “past only” (OR = 0.83; 95% CI: 0.73, 0.95) and “always” (OR = 0.86; 95% CI: 0.75, 0.98). In addition, a decreased risk of developmental delay in the problem-solving domain was associated with “past” family dog ownership (OR = 0.87; 95% CI: 0.79, 0.97) and in the personal-social domain was associated with “always” family dog ownership (OR = 0.81; 95% CI = 0.68, 0.95). Given the possible positive association between early life child development and family dog ownership, living with dogs may be an important factor to be considered when assessing child development.
... There is substantial evidence that early language development is largely dependent on social interactions through which children build critical neural connections as a response to exposure to language (Mundy et al., 1983;Sarsour et al., 2011). Researchers have hypothesized that pets may contribute to early language development by providing children with increased language exposure when caregivers direct instructions, praise, or reprimands toward the animal (Endenburg and van Lith, 2011;Melson, 2001;Purewal et al., 2017). This additional exposure to language further enhances young children's neural connections, which benefits overall cognitive development. ...
... Companion animals also may promote early language development in children by eliciting communication in the form of young children mimicking the instructions and praise spoken by their caregivers. Pets also respond to and engage with young children's early language attempts and communication, simulating social interactions (Endenburg and van Lith, 2011;Melson, 2001;Purewal et al., 2017). ...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes current theoretical and empirical research on the influence of human-animal interaction on youths’ development and wellbeing. We highlight the potential benefits and risks associated with interactions with companion animals, emphasizing the importance of factors such as attachment and bonds with pets in the context of youths’ development. We also discuss the inclusion of animals in educational and therapeutic interventions. We conclude with recommendations for how researchers and practitioners can advance the assessment of risk and resilience among youths by attending to relationships and interactions with companion animals within the family system and broader developmental context.
... Additionally, pets may introduce environmental toxicants (e.g., pesticides) into the home [22], and pesticide exposure may be a risk factor for ADHD [23]. Finally, attachment to a pet may impact emotional development [24]; emotional dysregulation is a feature of ADHD [25]. ...
... damage to neurons or alterations in size of specific brain regions) [55]. Alternatively, Endenburg and van Lith [24], in a review on the influence of animals on child development, describe that it may not be the ownership of a pet, but rather the attachment to a pet that may influence emotional development. We do not have information on flea or tick medications used in the prenatal period, nor on the maternal or WHEALS child attachment to the pets in the home. ...
Article
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Background: While the keeping of pets has been shown to protect against childhood allergic disease and obesity, less is known regarding potential associations of prenatal pet keeping and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We sought to examine the associations between prenatal dog or cat keeping with caregiver-reported ADHD in preadolescents in the Wayne County Health, Environment, Allergy and Asthma Longitudinal Study (WHEALS) birth cohort (N = 1258). Methods: At an interview with the caregiver at child age 10-12 years, caregivers reported if the WHEALS child had ever been diagnosed with ADHD. Similarly, during an interview with the mother prenatally, pet keeping (defined as dog or cat kept inside ≥1 h/day) was ascertained. Logistic regression models were fit to examine the association of prenatal pet keeping (dog keeping and cat keeping, separately) with ADHD. Results: A subset of 627 children were included in the analyses: 93 who had ADHD and 534 with neurotypical development. After accounting for confounders and loss to follow-up, maternal prenatal dog exposure was associated with 2.23 times (95% CI: 1.15, 4.31; p = 0.017) greater odds of ADHD among boys. Prenatal dog keeping was not statistically significantly associated with ADHD in girls (odds ratio = 0.27, 95% CI: 0.06, 1.12; p = 0.070). Prenatal cat keeping was not associated with ADHD. Conclusions: In boys, but not girls, maternal prenatal dog keeping was positively associated with ADHD. Further study to confirm these findings and to identify potential mechanisms of this association (e.g., modification of the gut microbiome, exposure to environmental toxicants or pet-related medications) is needed.
... Many families with children have pets (1)(2)(3), and there has been significant interest in the connection between experience with animals and development in childhood (4)(5)(6)(7)(8). However, few studies have considered the impact of exposure to pets on very young infants (9). ...
... However, few studies have considered the impact of exposure to pets on very young infants (9). Instead, the vast majority of work on how exposure to animals influences development has focused on older children and, often, in therapeutic settings (4,10,11). The lack of work on the period of infancy is surprising because it is a developmental period profoundly influenced by experience. ...
Article
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Very little is known about the effect of pet experience on cognitive development in infancy. In Experiment 1, we document in a large sample (N = 1270) that 63% of families with infants under 12 months have at least one household pet. The potential effect on development is significant as the first postnatal year is a critically important time for changes in the brain and cognition. Because research has revealed how experience shapes early development, it is likely that the presence of a companion dog or cat in the home influences infants' development. In Experiment 2, we assess differences between infants who do and do not have pets (N = 171) in one aspect of cognitive development: their processing of animal faces. We examined visual exploration of images of dog, cat, monkey, and sheep faces by 4-, 6-, and 10-month-old infants. Although at the youngest ages infants with and without pets exhibited the same patterns of visual inspection of these animals faces, by 10 months infants with pets spent proportionately more time looking at the region of faces that contained the eyes than did infants without pets. Thus, exposure to pets contributes to how infants look at and learn about animal faces.
... En lien avec ces apprentissages, pourrait également être présente une influence de l'animal dans les apprentissages cognitifs de l'enfant. Bien que ce point ait été fortement renseigné d'un point de vue théorique, il reste encore peu investigué expérimentalement à ce jour (Endenburg et van Lith, 2011). Par exemple, l'enfant pourrait être motivé à interagir verbalement avec son animal, ce dernier jouera alors un rôle motivationnel à la prononciation des mots. ...
... Tako je u novije vrijeme sve popularnije uključivanje životinja, posebice pasa, u proces obrazovanja djece. Istraživanja pokazuju da uključivanje terapijskih pasa u rad s djecom rezultira cijelim nizom dobrobiti za mentalno zdravlje djece, poboljšanje komunikacijskih vještina te njihovu motivaciju za sudjelovanje u rehabilitacijskim i obrazovnim aktivnostima (Brelsford i sur., 2017;Endenburg i Van Lith, 2011;Nebbe, 2000). ...
Article
Unatrag dva desetljeća sve više raste interes za korištenje terapijskih pasa u obrazovnom okruženju, posebice u radu s djecom s teškoćama u razvoju (Brelsford i sur., 2017). Osnovni cilj istraživanja učinka terapijskih pasa u radu s djecom je prepoznavanje dobrobiti koju taj rad ima za mentalno zdravlje djece, poboljšanje komunikacijskih vještina te njihovu motivaciju za sudjelovanje u rehabilitacijskim i obrazovnim aktivnostima. Iako sve veći broj istraživanja navodi sve češće uključivanje terapijskih pasa u obrazovnom okruženju, praksa se još uvijek ne proučava sustavno (Gee i sur., 2015). Tijekom suočavanja s pandemijom COVID-a-19 te posljedicama potresa u gradu Zagrebu, osim zatvaranja škola, socijalne izolacije, smanjene dostupnosti pojedinih zdravstvenih usluga, pa tako i rehabilitacije djece s teškoćama u razvoju, susreli smo se, očekivano, i s pogoršanjem mentalnog zdravlja djece. Poliklinika za rehabilitaciju slušanja i govora SUVAG u Zagrebu, Ulica kneza Ljudevita Posavskog 10 (u nastavku teksta Poliklinika SUVAG), u kojoj se rehabilitiraju i školuju djeca s oštećenjem sluha i poremećajima govora i jezika, tijekom 2020. i 2021. godine u svom je radu upotrebljavala i tri terapijska psa koja su odigrala značajnu ulogu kao motivatori djece u obrazovnim i rehabilitacijskim aktivnostima te zaštiti mentalnog zdravlja tijekom pandemije. Ključne riječi: terapijski pas, pandemija COVID-a-19, djeca s teškoćama u razvoju, mentalno zdravlje, obrazovanje
... Communicating with animals can be a much simpler experience than with another person; animals are less complex, nonjudgemental and respond well to nonverbal forms of communication. Children can also develop self esteem and empathy for others through their interactions with animals (Endenburg and van Lith, 2011). Learning about how to care for an animal from a young age is not only beneficial for building a child's sense of selfworth and confidence, it also helps to develop their awareness of an animal's sentience, which can help promote a respect for the wellbeing of animals throughout their lives. ...
... The adolescents in this study showed a large interest in having contact with the horse and had the same horse each time. A feeling of connectedness with an animal might happen without owning the animal (Endenburg & van Lith, 2011). The adolescents having the same horse during their intervention might have been of importance. ...
Article
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Earlier studies have indicated that learning to handle a horse through tasks and activities can lead to a feeling of mastery which may have an impact on self-efficacy. The aim of this study was to examine how adolescents conducted horse-related tasks presented to them in an intervention in a farm environment, and whether there was a change during the intervention in persistence on tasks with the horse. Furthermore, we wanted to examine the behavior of the adolescents towards the horse and the response from the horse. Each participant was given an intervention once a week for approximately 16 weeks consisting of tasks with the horse, riding, grooming, and stable work. The sample presented in this study consisted of 29 participants who were successfully video-recorded in the beginning and at the end of the intervention. Petting the horse was the most frequent way of initiating contact with the horse, and the distributions of contact behaviors were the same at both time spots. The response of the horse was mainly neutral or positive. When participants did not succeed at their first attempt when trying to solve a horse-related task or an exercise during riding, their subsequent behavior was recorded as either trying again or not trying again. Early in the intervention, these two options were chosen with about the same frequency, while at the end of the intervention trying again was chosen significantly more often than not trying again. This was operationalized as an increase in persistence when having difficulties in solving tasks with the horse. The increased persistence late in the intervention in retrying tasks may indicate that the adolescents developed a feeling of mastery, which is an important factor in development of self-efficacy.
... The strength of a child's attachment to the pet, rather than pet ownership per se, may confer benefit. While the underlying mechanisms are unclear, attachment theory stipulates a bidirectional connectivity between humans and their pets that may exert a significant influence on a child's socioemotional development [32][33][34]. The degree of attachment between a child and a pet dog or cat is associated with improved child social-cognitive and socioemotional development, and psychosocial health [18,35,36]. ...
Article
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Background In our prior study of 643 children, ages 4–11 years, children with pet dogs had lower anxiety scores than children without pet dogs. This follow-up study examines whether exposure to pet dogs or cats during childhood reduces the risk of adolescent mental health (MH) disorders. Methods Using a retrospective cohort study design, we merged our prior study database with electronic medical record (EMR) data to create an analytic database. Common MH diagnoses (anxiety, depression, ADHD) occurring from the time of prior study enrollment to 10/27/21 were identified using ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes. We used proportional hazards regression to compare time to MH diagnoses, between youths with and without pets. From 4/1/20 to 10/27/21, parents and youth in the prior study were interviewed about the amount of time the youth was exposed to a pet and how attached s/he was to the pet. Exposure included having a pet dog at baseline, cumulative exposure to a pet dog or cat during follow-up, and level of pet attachment. The main outcomes were anxiety diagnosis, any MH diagnosis, and MH diagnosis associated with a psychotropic prescription. Results EMR review identified 571 youths with mean age of 14 years (range 11–19), 53% were male, 58% had a pet dog at baseline. During follow-up (mean of 7.8 years), 191 children received a MH diagnosis: 99 were diagnosed with anxiety (52%), 61 with ADHD (32%), 21 with depression (11%), 10 with combined MH diagnoses (5%). After adjusting for significant confounders, having a pet dog at baseline was associated with lower risk of any MH diagnosis (HR = 0.74, p = .04) but not for anxiety or MH diagnosis with a psychotropic prescription. Among the 241 (42%) youths contacted for follow-up, parent-reported cumulative exposure to pet dogs was borderline negatively associated with occurrence of any MH diagnosis (HR = 0.74, p = .06). Cumulative exposure to the most attached pet (dog or cat) was negatively associated with anxiety diagnosis (HR = 0.57, p = .006) and any MH diagnosis (HR = 0.64, p = .013). Conclusion Cumulative exposure to a highly attached pet dog or cat is associated with reduced risk of adolescent MH disorders.
... Ignoring this may lead to a "nature deficit syndrome" (Louv, 2008;Kotrschal, 2014) and sub-optimal executive functions (Diamond, 2013). Thus, growing up in the company of, and in good relationships with, dogs or other animals seems to support social competence, empathy, cognition and even good health in adults (Melson, 2009;Endenburg and van Lith, 2011). ...
Article
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Dogs are becoming increasingly popular in pedagogical settings. Particularly children with special educational needs are believed to benefit from dog-assisted interventions. However, reliable evidence for supporting such claims is still scarce and reports on the effectiveness of this approach are often anecdotal. With our review we aim at evaluating the literature to answer the question, whether dog-assisted interventions in an educational setting can help children with special educational needs to improve and to develop their emotional, social and cognitive skills. Following the PRISMA Guidelines, the literature was systematically searched for experimental studies until February 2021. Eighteen studies were finally included, which varied greatly in type of intervention, outcomes measured, sample sizes, and scientific quality, which precluded a formal meta-analysis. Hence, we resorted to a narrative synthesis. Overall, the studies report mixed results in the different functional domains of stress reduction, motivation, social skills, cognitive abilities, reading abilities, social conduct, and mental wellbeing. No study reported any negative effects of the intervention. The most unequivocal evidence comes from studies on dogs’ effects on physiological stress response in challenging situations and on motivation and adherence to instructions, reporting significantly lower levels of cortisol in both children and pedagogues in the presence of dogs, as well as increased motivation to learn and participate. Findings for other outcomes, academic or social, however, remain inconclusive. Data on long-term effects are lacking altogether. Still, this review indicates the potentials of dog-assisted interventions in special pedagogy, particularly towards supporting a calm and trustful social atmosphere.
... Supporting the contention that HAI can provide a context to foster SECs, researchers have found that pet ownership is associated with higher levels of self-esteem (Covert et al., 1985;Van Houtte & Jarvis, 1995), self-reliance (Poresky & Hendrix, 1989), emotional expression (Sato et al., 2019), empathy (Poresky & Hendrix, 1989;Vidović et al., 1999), prosocial behavior (Christian et al., 2020;Dueñas et al., 2021;Vidović et al., 1999), decisionmaking skills (Poresky & Hendrix, 1989), and responsibility (Covert et al., 1985;Endenburg & van Lith, 2011). As not all children and youth have opportunities to interact with animals within their home environment, researchers have explored the effects of HAI in educational settings and have found positive outcomes. ...
Article
Interest in human–animal interaction (HAI) research is burgeoning. It is suggested that participation in universal programs that incorporate HAI can promote the social and emotional competencies (SECs) of children and youth. However, there is a dearth of empirical evidence (i.e., outcome evaluations) attesting to the effectiveness of such programs. To address this knowledge gap and consolidate findings across studies, a scoping review was conducted. The aim was to provide an overview of the research that combined HAI and the promotion of SECs. Three academic databases were searched for relevant publications published between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 2020. The reference lists of the included publications were also screened for additional relevant publications. From an initial pool of 3,618 publications, 28 unique publications were selected for inclusion in the scoping review. Most authors reported positive outcomes in their evaluations. Across publications, variability was evident in the participating animals (dogs, horses, and wild birds were most common), the designs of programs, and the settings in which programs took place. A lack of methodological rigor was also found across all evaluations reported, including inconsistencies in the reporting of demographic information regarding human and animal participants, minimal use of randomization or control groups, lack of validity and reliability evidence to support outcome measures, and minimal attention to program implementation and animal welfare. The implications for future research are discussed, including the need to conduct rigorous evaluations of programs using reliable and validated measures and to address the inconsistencies in the descriptions of programs and in the reporting of outcome evaluations.
... Functional human-dog dyads can be extremely beneficial to each member of the partnership (Bennett & Rohlf, 2007;Black, 2012;Christian et al., 2014;Wells, 2011) and to society as a whole (Davis, Nattrass, O'Brien, Patronek, & MacCollin, 2004;Endenburg & van Lith, 2011;Greatbatch, Gosling, & Allen, 2015;Hart, Zaskasloff, Bryson, & Christensen, 2000), but when (Payne et al., 2015), such as husbandry choices (Kobelt et al., 2003;Tami et al., 2008) and the personality types of both partners (Dodman et al., 2018;Harvey, Craigon, Blythe, England, & Asher, 2016;Kuroshima, Hori, Inoue-Murayama, & Fujita, 2016;van den Berg et al., 2006). Since these behavioral problems are often hallmarks of dysfunctional dyads, it makes sense to think that certain factors may be more prevalent in these dyads. ...
Article
Human–dog dyads represent a mutually beneficial partner- ship with a 16,000-year-old history. However, when this relationship becomes dysfunctional the consequences for the human, dog, and society at large can be severe. Canine members of dysfunctional dyads often display problem behaviors, such as aggression, and are frequently allowed to roam, becoming a public health concern. The cause of this dysfunction is multifactorial and includes human and canine personality factors as well as husbandry choices. By using our knowledge of these factors, there is a possibility of early identification of such pairings so that they can be corrected or even prevented. This study evaluated the factors that can contribute to the existence of dysfunctional human–dog dyads. Dog owners were asked to fill out questionnaires regarding their dog (general characteristics and the Canine Behavioral Assessment & Research Questionnaire) and themselves (general characteristics, education, family make-up, husbandry choices, and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised). A total of 255 responses were obtained and differences between the two dyad types were found in hus- bandry choices and in both human and dog personalities. Using these factors, logistic regression was performed, and two models were obtained that could allow for the early identification of dysfunctional dyads. These models could be used to develop targeted educational programs, to better match dogs to new owners within the context of shelter medicine and help better tailor patient care in a clinical context.
... A study which involved children, by Nagengast, et al. (1997), discussed that having pets helped in the physiological arousal and behavioural distress in children. A study of the influences on the socialemotional and cognitive development of children, by Endenburg and van Lith (2011), showed that personal affiliation with animals brings benefits in therapy sessions with patients in hospitals (Odendaal, 2000;Hoffman, et al., 2009;and O'haire, 2010). Sixth, changes in lifestyle: human nowadays live in urban environments that have limited spaces for natural elements, which has created a stressful lifestyle, pollution, and environmental issues. ...
Article
Full-text available
Nature provides a plethora of inspiration for designers and artists towards the generation of ideas in a design process. The biophilic design focuses more on the need of human beings to associate with nature in the built environment. The main concern of this study is to focus on natural inspiration, analogy and the application of natural materials rather than the application of bio-inspired approaches towards the bionic, biomimetic or biomimicry. This paper also provides enhance deliberation towards the nature-inspired design projects with the attributes on the indirect experience of nature in biophilic design elements. To validate the nature-inspired design projects with biophilic design elements, the attributes were cross-referenced and tabulated. Apparently, the use of natural materials, colours, and shapes, forms and natural geometries in the designs produced have a relation to biophilic designs. Furthermore, the knowledge and understanding of the respondents towards biophilic design and its relation to nature-inspired design were also analysed and deliberated. Moreover, it is hoping that more furniture designs can be produced in the future by utilising more locally source natural materials as these materials can be expanded and have potential to be used whilst also could help to generate local community income.
... Such animal interactions are also important in child development, impacting social and emotional well being in addition to more general cognitive development and school performance [214][215][216]. A range of hypotheses and literatures can explain why such child-animal interactions are so impactful [217,218]. The developmental support hypothesis points to the importance of social cues of developmental support, which could explain why dogs are particularly effective therapy animals [213] with their evolutionary history of social interactions. ...
Article
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Across mammals, cues of developmental support, such as touching, licking or attentiveness, stimulate neural development, behavioural exploration and even overall body growth. Why should such fitness-related traits be so sensitive to developmental conditions? Here, we review what we term the ‘developmental support hypothesis’, a potential adaptive explanation of this plasticity. Neural development can be a costly process, in terms of time, energy and exposure. However, environmental variability may sometimes compromise parental care during this costly developmental period. We propose this environmental variation has led to the evolution of adaptive plasticity of neural and behavioural development in response to cues of developmental support, where neural development is stimulated in conditions that support associated costs. When parental care is compromised, offspring grow less and adopt a more resilient and stress-responsive strategy, improving their chances of survival in difficult conditions, similar to existing ideas on the adaptive value of early-life programming of stress. The developmental support hypothesis suggests new research directions, such as testing the adaptive value of reduced neural growth and metabolism in stressful conditions, and expanding the range of potential cues animals may attend to as indicators of developmental support. Considering evolutionary and ecologically appropriate cues of social support also has implications for promoting healthy neural development in humans. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Life history and learning: how childhood, caregiving and old age shape cognition and culture in humans and other animals’.
... Finally, a wide range of emotional health benefits from childhood pet ownership has been identified, particularly for those suffering from low self-esteem and loneliness. There is evidence of an association between pet ownership and educational and cognitive benefits, increased social competence, social networks, social interaction, and social play behavior [43,44]. Significantly less absenteeism from school through sickness among children who live with pets has also been reported [13]. ...
Article
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Over time the human-animal bond has been changed. For instance, the role of pets has changed from work animals (protecting houses, catching mice) to animals with a social function, giving companionship. Pets can be important for the physical and mental health of their owners but may also transmit zoonotic infections. The One Health initiative is a worldwide strategy for expanding collaborations in all aspects of health care for humans, animals, and the environment. However, in One Health communications the role of particularly dogs and cats is often underestimated. Objective: Evaluation of positive and negative One Health issues of the human-companion animal relationship with a focus on zoonotic aspects of cats and dogs in industrialized countries. Method: Literature review. Results: Pets undoubtedly have a positive effect on human health, while owners are increasing aware of pet's health and welfare. The changing attitude of humans with regard to pets and their environment can also lead to negative effects such as changes in feeding practices, extreme breeding, and behavioral problems, and anthropozoonoses. For the human, there may be a higher risk of the transmission of zoonotic infections due to trends such as sleeping with pets, allowing pets to lick the face or wounds, bite accidents, keeping exotic animals, the importation of rescue dogs, and soil contact. Conclusions: One Health issues need frequently re-evaluated as the close human-animal relationship with pet animals can totally differ compared to decennia ago. Because of the changed human-companion animal bond, recommendations regarding responsible pet-ownership, including normal hygienic practices, responsible breeding, feeding, housing, and mental and physical challenges conforming the biology of the animal are required. Education can be performed by vets and physicians as part of the One Health concept.
... 27 Pets can also facilitate social interactions between children. 28 Furthermore, it seems that the social benefits of pets traverses the life course. For adults, pet ownership is associated with higher social capital and sense of community (ie, connections between individuals, their social networks, and notions of trustworthiness) compared with not owning a pet. ...
Article
Objective: To investigate the longitudinal association between pet ownership and children's social-emotional development. Study design: Two time-points of data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children were analyzed for children at ages 5 (n = 4242) and 7 (n = 4431) years. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) measured children's social-emotional development. Pet ownership status and type (dog, cat, other) as well as sociodemographic and other potential confounders were collected. Longitudinal panel regression models were used. Results: Overall, 27% of children had abnormal scores on 1 or more SDQ scales. By age 7, 75% of children had pets with ownership highest in single-child households. Owning any type of pet was associated with decreased odds of abnormal scores for emotional symptoms (OR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.67-0.99), peer problems (OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.60-0.84), and prosocial behavior (OR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.38-0.70), compared with non-pet owners. Dog ownership was associated with decreased odds of abnormal scores on any of the SDQ scales (OR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.71-0.93). For children without any siblings, only the prosocial behavior scale was significantly associated with pet ownership (OR, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.07-0.66). In longitudinal models, cat-only and dog-only groups were associated with fewer emotional symptoms and peer problems compared with non-pet owners. Conclusions: Early school age is an important period for family pet acquisition. Pets may protect children from developing social-emotional problems and should be taken into account when assessing child development and school readiness. Children without siblings may benefit most in terms of their prosocial behavior.
... For many children, companion animals are likely powerful motivators for learning [12] and development [12,13]. Although pet ownership may have the potential to positively influence child development, these relationships have received little attention, and a need for research in this area has been recognized [12,14]. Especially, studies focused on child development and pet ownership at a very early age and are limited. ...
Article
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Contact with companion animals has been suggested to have important roles in enhancing child development. However, studies focused on child development and pet ownership at a very early age are limited. The purpose of the current study was to investigate child development in relation to pet ownership at an early age in a nationwide prospective birth cohort study: the Japan Environment and Children’s Study. Associations between cat and dog ownership at six months and infant development at 12 months of age were examined in this study. Infant development was assessed using the Ages & Stages QuestionnairesTM (ASQ-3) at 12 months. Among participants of (Japan Environment and Children’s Study) JECS, those with available data of cat and dog ownership at six months and data for the ASQ-3 at 12 months were included (n = 78,868). Having dogs showed higher percentages of pass in all five domains measured by ASQ-3 (communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal-social) compared to those who did not have dogs. Significantly decreased odds ratios (ORs) of developmental delays were observed in association with having dogs in all fix domains (communication: OR = 0.73, gross motor: OR = 0.86, fine motor: OR = 0.84, problem-solving: OR = 0.90, personal-social: OR = 0.83). This study suggested that early life dog ownership may reduce the risks of child developmental delays.
... Many interventions for children with ASD focus on improving social skills through video modeling, (MacDonald, Sacramone, Mansfield, Wiltz, & Ahearn, 2009), activity schedules (Betz, Higbee, & Reagon, 2008;Brodhead, Higbee, Pollard, Akers, & Gerencser, 2014), and behavioral skills training (Dogan et al., 2017). Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAIs) are becoming increasingly popular for children with ASD due to the reported social benefits of human-animal interaction for typically developing individuals (e.g., Daly & Morton, 2006;Endenburg & van Lith, 2011). For example, interventions including therapy dogs reduced anxiety and increased prosocial behaviors (e.g., helpfulness toward others) in patients who were hospitalized for psychiatric concerns (Barker, Pandurangi, & Best, 2003;Marr et al., 2000). ...
Article
The purpose of this study was to evaluate preference for and reinforcing efficacy of a therapy dog to increase verbal statements across different contingencies. Five children with autism spectrum disorder ages 3-8 years participated. Alternating treatments and reversal designs were used to compare conditions in which (a) a therapy dog was not present, (b) access to a therapy dog was noncontingent, (c) access to a therapy dog was contingent on interacting with a therapist, and (d) access to another preferred item was contingent on interacting with a therapist. Results varied across participants. Noncontingent access to the therapy dog slightly increased verbal statements for 1 participant. Contingent access to the therapy dog increased social interactions for 2 participants; however, this was the most effective intervention for only 1 participant. Practitioners should be aware that some clients may be better suited for interventions including therapy dogs than others.
... A study which involved children, by Nagengast, et al. (1997), discussed that having pets helped in the physiological arousal and behavioural distress in children. A study of the influences on the socialemotional and cognitive development of children, by Endenburg and van Lith (2011), showed that personal affiliation with animals brings benefits in therapy sessions with patients in hospitals (Odendaal, 2000;Hoffman, et al., 2009;and O'haire, 2010). Sixth, changes in lifestyle: human nowadays live in urban environments that have limited spaces for natural elements, which has created a stressful lifestyle, pollution, and environmental issues. ...
Article
Full-text available
Nature provides a plethora of inspiration for designers and artists towards the generation of ideas in a design process. The biophilic design focuses more on the need of human beings to associate with nature in the built environment. The main concern of this study is to focus on natural inspiration, analogy and the application of natural materials rather than the application of bio-inspired approaches towards the bionic, biomimetic or biomimicry. This paper also provides enhance deliberation towards the nature-inspired design projects with the attributes on the indirect experience of nature in biophilic design elements. To validate the nature-inspired design projects with biophilic design elements, the attributes were cross-referenced and tabulated. Apparently, the use of natural materials, colours, and shapes, forms and natural geometries in the designs produced have a relation to biophilic designs. Furthermore, the knowledge and understanding of the respondents towards biophilic design and its relation to nature-inspired design were also analysed and deliberated. Moreover, it is hoping that more furniture designs can be produced in the future by utilising more locally source natural materials as these materials can be expanded and have potential to be used whilst also could help to generate local community income. Keywords: biophilic design, nature inspired design, furniture design, design project, inspiration
... However, with the exception of a few studies (Daly & Suggs, 2010;Myers, Saunders, & Garrett, 2003, 2004, relatively less research has explored children's use of mental state talk and children's relationships with companion animals. This is surprising, given that a growing body of research indicates that children's emotional attachments and relationships with companion animals are associated with many positive physiological, cognitive, socio-emotional, and moral outcomes for children (Batson et al., 2003;Daly & Suggs, 2010;Esposito, McCune, Griffin, & Maholmes, 2011;Endenburg & van Lith, 2010;O'Haire, 2010). ...
Article
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Children’s emotional and mental worlds are often influenced by their experiences with companion animals. This study explored 77 (50 g; 27 b) 6- to 12-year-old children’s empathy; perceived companion animal friendship, comfort, and bonding; and mental state talk in conversations about their interactions with their companion animal. Children completed self-report questionnaires and responded to two moral stories about companion animals. Results showed that higher levels of children’s mental state talk were related with high levels of empathy for companion animals. Compared to boys, girls reported significantly stronger companion animal friendships, and that they received more comfort from their companion animals. Results also showed that, for girls only, higher levels of perceived companion animal friendship were related to higher levels of emotional comfort received. The findings can inform humane education programs that promote mental state talk, moral agency, and relationships.
... In addition, as concern grows for children's mental health [14] and a "rise in therapeutic education" ensues [15], it is fundamental that current research not only addresses robust and rigorous design, but also employs affective methods which can Animals 2019, 9,934 3 of 16 reveal new insights and understanding of what has been termed a "pet pedagogy" [16]. Before such claims can be trustworthy, a process model [17,18] is foregrounded; as such, attention to movement, touch and inter-corporality is discernible. The exploration, experimentation and enactment of child-dog and adolescent-horse interactions offer a contribution to the field of human-animal studies that elicit children's experiences and encounters both as narrative and "visual vocabulary" [19]. ...
Article
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In this paper, we bring together two separate studies and offer a double similitude as it were, in finding “common ground” and “common worlds” between dog–human and horse–human interactions. Appreciation of the process and mechanism of affect (and affect theory) can enable a greater understanding of child–animal interactions in how they benefit and co-constitute one another in enhancing well-being and flourishing. Studies have thus far fallen short of tapping into this significant aspect of human–animal relationships and the features of human flourishing. There has been a tendency to focus more on related biological and cognitive enhancement (lowering of blood pressure, increase in the “feel good” hormone oxytocin) such as a dog’s mere “presence” in the classroom improving tests of executive function and performance. Study A details an affective methodology to explore the finer nuances of child–dog encounters. By undertaking a sensory and walking ethnography in a North East England Primary School with Year 6 (aged 10 and 11 years) and Year 4 (aged 7 and 8 years) children (60 in total), participant observation enabled rich data to emerge. Study B involves two separate groups of young people aged between 16 and 19 years who were excluded from mainstream education and identified as “vulnerable” due to perceived behavioural, social or emotional difficulties. It used mixed methods to gather and examine data from focus groups, interviews and statistics using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Photo elicitation was an additional source of information. This equine intervention facilitated vital spaces for social and emotional well-being. The important significance of touch to children’s and young people’s well-being suggests a need for “spaces” in classrooms, and wider society, which open up this possibility further and challenge a “hands-off” pedagogy and professional practice.
... This educational gain is also crucial for design and technology education in schools where teaching user-centeredness is one of the key goals (DfE, 2015). Besides, designing for animals can have additional benefits for pupils considering that interacting with animals has positive effects on children's development (Endenburg & van Lith, 2011). ...
Article
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This paper presents how we, as design educators, integrated user-centeredness into a design studio course project that is concerned with improving well-being of domestic cats and dogs. Since the primary users of the project were identified as domestic animals, we carried out the project in collaboration with experts from a veterinary medicine school who study animal behavior. We developed a three-stage user research model to enable students to familiarize themselves with the physical and emotional needs of the animals at the beginning, and test their prototypes with the users in both the lab and home contexts during the project. The empirical basis of the paper comes from the interviews we conducted with 12 students who participated in the project, in order to explore their experiences of designing for animals. The paper shows that including animals in a design process as participants, through iterative trials in the real use context, serves as a good strategy to not only overcome the challenges of designing for animals, but also teach students the importance of user-centeredness and building empathy in design in a broader sense.
... As concern grows for children's mental health [12] and a 'rise in therapeutic education' ensues [13] it is fundamental that current research addresses not only robust and rigorous design, but also employs affective methods which can reveal new insights and understanding of what has been termed a 'pet pedagogy' [14]. Before such claims can be trustworthy, a process model [15,16] (Belsky, 1984) is foregrounded; as such, attention to movement, touch and inter-corporality is discernable. This exploration, experimentation and enactment of child-dog interactions offers a contribution to the field of humananimal studies which elicit children's experiences and encounters both as narrative and 'visual vocabulary' (Eisner, 2006) [17]. ...
Preprint
Children’s beneficial relationships with animals are well known. Companion animals, particularly dogs have become an integral part of family life and children’s material culture. Aside the proven physiological benefits there is little research about what children say about their relationships with animals and how they describe them. In this paper we bring together both horse-human and dog-human interactions, finding common ground for understanding the complexity of human development, well-being and flourishing. Dogs in schools are fast becoming a trend in helping support and enhance children’s learning as well as their social and emotional well-being. Studies have shown that the very presence of a dog can increase children’s concentration, executive function and behavior. Also, equine therapy is gaining momentum and empirical studies are showing noteworthy benefits to children and young people. However, the lack of children’s voices means that the mechanisms for these benefits are somewhat unknown and unclear. In seeking to explore this, the authors utilize a visual, sensory and diffractive ethnographic approach to illuminate and illustrate, experiment and re-enact, how the children relate, share spaces and multiple subjectivities with their classroom canine, “Ted” and companion horse “Henry”. ”Henry” is part of a programme in which youngsters care for and engage in activities with horses.
... HAI is the mutual and dynamic relationship between people and animals, and the effects these interactions have on physical and psychological health and well-being of both people and their pets [1]. Potential benefits of pet ownership on the emotional and physical health of both adults [2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] and children [11][12][13][14][15] have been observed. ...
Article
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Background: In developed nations, pet ownership is common within families. Both physical and psychological health benefits may result from owning a pet during childhood and adolescence. However, it is difficult to determine whether these benefits are due to pet ownership directly or to factors linked to both pet ownership and health. Previous research found associations between a range of socio-demographic factors and pet ownership in seven-year-old children from a UK cohort. The current study extends this research to adolescence, considering that these factors may be important to consider in future Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) research across childhood. Results: The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) collected pet ownership data prospectively via maternal reports from gestation up to age 10 years old and via self-report retrospectively at age 18 for ages 11 (n = 3063) to 18 years old (n = 3098) on cats, dogs, rabbits, rodents, birds, fish, tortoise/turtles and horses. The dataset also contains a wide range of potential confounders, including demographic and socio-economic variables. The ownership of all pet types peaked at age 11 (80%) and then decreased during adolescence, with the exclusion of cats which remained constant (around 30%), and dogs which increased through 11-18 years (26-37%). Logistic regression was used to build multivariable models for ownership of each pet type at age 13 years, and the factors identified in these models were compared to previously published data for 7 year-olds in the same cohort. There was some consistency with predictors reported at age 7. Generally sex, birth order, maternal age, maternal education, number of people in the household, house type, and concurrent ownership of other pets were associated with pet ownership at both 7 and 13 years (the direction of association varied according to pet type). Factors that were no longer associated with adolescent pet ownership included child ethnicity, paternal education, and parental social class. Conclusions: A number of socio-demographic factors are associated with pet ownership in childhood and adolescence and they differ according to the type of pet, and age of child. These factors are potential confounders that must be considered in future HAI studies.
... Communicating with owners is vital to a successful veterinary practice (Cornell et al., 2007), and to improve animal welfare. There is an increasing recognition of the importance of relationships people have with their companion animals, and many owners see their pet as a member of their family (Endenburg and van Lith, 2011). Because of this caregiver relationship, pet owners call on the veterinary services to optimise the health and welfare of their animal. ...
Article
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Veterinarians are considered by society to be experts in animal health and the treatment and prevention of animal disease and are similarly regarded in matters of animal welfare. As such, veterinarians are expected to make judgements regarding the welfare of animals both in their care and beyond (Siegford, Cottee and Widowski, 2010). The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recommends that veterinarians “should be the leading advocates for the welfare of all animals, recognizing the key contribution that animals make to human society through food production, companionship, biomedical research and education” (OIE, 2012). Additionally, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), together with the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) declare that “Veterinarians are, and must continually strive to be, the leading advocates for the good welfare of animals in a continually evolving society” (AVMA, 2014). Professional and societal expectations confer a responsibility upon veterinarians to lead the way in promoting good animal welfare, and making ethical decisions for their animal patients, in often difficult situations. The specific decisions made by a veterinarian will vary depending on local legislative requirements, drug and equipment availability, and cultural expectations; a global understanding of the role of the veterinary practitioner in promoting animal welfare is fundamental for advancing companion animal health and welfare around the world. So, what is animal welfare? While there currently is no universally accepted definition, for the purpose of this document we will define it as follows: “Animal welfare is the physical and psychological, social and environmental well-being of animals” Veterinary professionals are expected to provide not only for physical health, but also the non-physical aspects of animal welfare that allow for the psychological, social and environmental well-being of their patients. And veterinarians must do so in the face of a diverse socio-economic, cultural, technological, and educational world. Companion animal practice is a rapidly growing and increasingly important segment of the global veterinary profession, with the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) itself representing more than 200,000 individual veterinarians belonging to over 100 associations (WSAVA, 2018). The benefits of leading companion animal practitioners to a better understanding of, and practice in animal welfare are many, and include increased professional satisfaction, enhanced client perceptions and improved compliance, safety and benefits to individuals and communities. A good understanding of how to provide for the pet’s welfare also provides a means of building trust with animal owners. Studies have shown that owners whose pets are considered “part of the family” are more responsive to veterinary recommendations, as are those who have an established pet-owner-veterinary bond (Lue, Pantenburg and Crawford, 2008). A recent survey revealed that clients of veterinarians who discussed with them the value of human-animal connections were up to 77% more likely to follow the veterinary recommendations, come for wellness appointments and purchase pet insurance (HABRI, 2016). Overall, this can allow for better patient care, improve professional satisfaction for the veterinarian and the veterinary team, and result in healthier animals and happier pet-owning individuals or families. Multiple human health studies have provided scientific evidence that pets can influence human physical and emotional health, minimise depression, and improve social interactions amongst people (Takashima and Day, 2014). Evidence was so compelling in relation to cardiovascular disease (CVD) that, in 2013, the American Heart Association issued the statement that “pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, may be reasonable for reduction in CVD risk” (Levine et al., 2013). These and other studies help underline the importance of pets in people’s lives and how pet-owner relationships can influence human health. The evidence for a mutually beneficial relationship between humans and their pets continues to mount, and the need for universally accepted guidelines for companion animal welfare has been identified. As a global veterinary association, WSAVA is ideally placed to introduce these animal welfare guidelines, designed to be utilised by all companion animal veterinarians no matter in what geographical region they practice. These guidelines are intended to assist companion animal veterinarians throughout the world in their understanding of contemporary animal welfare concepts and science, and provide guidance on addressing potential animal welfare problems, navigating some more common ethical issues, and promoting good animal welfare through effective communication, both within the veterinary clinic and beyond.
... Yhteenvetona voidaan päätellä lemmikkien olevan merkityksellisiä lasten ja nuorten elämässä (Cassel, White, Gee, & Hughes, 2017). Siten eläinten kanssa vuorovaikutuksessa tapahtuvilla positiivisilla vaikutuksilla voisi olla tärkeä rooli esimerkiksi eri terapioissa (Endenburg & Lith's, 2011). Kouluterveyskyselyn (2017) tuloksissa 8.-ja 9.-luokkalaisten Lapissa asuvien tyttöjen osuus, jotka hoitavat lemmikkiä tai kotieläintä tai oleskelevat luonnossa lähes päivittäin kouluajan ulkopuolella, oli 36,5 % maan keskiarvon ollessa 35,6 %. ...
Thesis
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The purpose of this research was to develop a hypothetical model for the well-being of adolescent girls in Northern Finland. The participants were young girls between the ages of 13 and 16 living in the province of Lapland. In the first phase, data which was collected through girls' writings (n=117), described well-being and issues promoting and hindering it. In the second phase, girls were interviewed (n=19) about the meaning of seasonal changes, nature and animals relative to well-being. In the last phase three focus group interviews (n=17) were held. Based on the results of three phases, a hypothetical model was created of the wellbeing of adolescent girls in Northern Finland. The materials were analyzed by inductive content analysis. Based on the results of the first phase, well-being for the girls meant health as a resource, beneficial lifestyle, positive life course experiences, and favourable social relationships. Well-being was promoted by beneficial lifestyles, encouraging feelings, favorable social relationships and a pleasant state of being. Instead, well-being was hindered by factors that impaired health, negative personal feelings, conflicts in social relationships, and undesirable external factors. According to the results of the second phase, the participatory involvement with environment was formed from adaptation to seasonal changes, restorative nature and empowering interactivity with animals. In the third phase, natural environment that provides meaningful stimulus, winter which expresses participative and confrontational meanings and seasonal variations binding experiences was identified. The hypothetical model of well-being of adolescent girls in Northern Finland includes five dimensions, which were (1) health as an enabler, (2) the significance of social relationships, (3) acclimatization to the environments variation, (4) a harmonious connection with nature, and (5) a balanced experience of life. This research brings new knowledge of what the meanings of well-being represent for girls in the northern environment of Finland. The results can be utilized to promote the well-being of adolescent girls in a broad and multiprofessional way in nursing care. Information can also be used in social and healthcare education and in prioritizing resources for preventative actions leading to adolescents’ well-being.
... With regard to children's pets, studies often have examined the development of empathy among children who nurture pets. Yet, as revealed in reviews, most of these studies do not treat dogs and cats separately, but rather lump dogs and cats together as companion animals or pets (4,5), despite evidence that dogs and cats clearly differ (6). Often, dogs are emphasized as a major focus, perhaps because they frequently emerge as the preferred pet, as shown in an early study (7), and in examples from U.S. (8) and Holland (9). ...
Article
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Although studies involving pet dogs and cats, and human adults and children, have been reported, the specific interactions between cats and children have not. This study sought information from parents about the cat's role in families that have at least one child 3–12 years of age and at least one cat. Demographic data on cat source, breed, gender/neuter status, was sought as well as information on adults and children in the families and on affectionate, aggressive, fearful, and playful responses of the cats to children. A convenience sample was recruited via listservs for pet owners and parents. Using a pilot tested web survey, descriptive statistics were based on 865 respondents. Multi-variate statistical analyses were conducted on data from 665 respondents with complete responses for all items, including respondents' locations and whether cats were adopted as kittens. Multi-variate analyses included consideration of demographic data, geographic region of respondents, behavioral characteristics of the cats, and responses of the children to the cats. From descriptive statistics, cats' affection was more typical with adults than young children. Neuter status or gender was unrelated to cats' aggression or affection. Being the family's only cat was associated with heightened aggression and reduced affection. Younger cats were more likely to be affectionate. Multivariate analysis revealed three primary factors accounting for children's compatibility with the specified cat: positive interactions of the cat, aggression/fearfulness of cat, and the cat's playfulness and children's reaction to the cats. Positive child-cat relationships were more typical with two or more adults and multiple cats in the home. Old cats were the least satisfactory. A breeder or shelter was a better source than as a feral, from a newspaper ad, or another source. European respondents rated their cats' interactions with children more favorably than in U.S./Canada. This difference may reflect the European adoptions more frequently being of kittens, often purebred, assuring more early handling within the family. A noteworthy finding was that all family participants, humans, and pets alike, affect the cat-child relationship, and these results reveal that many variables can play a role in achieving a desirable relationship for a cat and child.
... Araştırmalarda en çok çalışılan konunun evcil hayvan sahibi olmanın bireylerin sağlığı üzerindeki etkileri hakkında olduğu dikkat çekmektedir. Hayvanlarla temas etmenin çocukluk döneminden itibaren bireyin sosyal (Kotrschal ve Ortbauer, 2003), fiziksel (Friedman ve Thomas, 1995) ve psikolojik (Hansen, Messinger, Baun ve Megel, 1999) sağlığına olumlu etkileri olduğuna dair birçok araştırma bulgusu bulunmaktadır (Endenburg ve Van Lith, 2011;Melson, 2003;Purewal ve ark., 2017). Evde evcil hayvan beslemenin olumsuz duygu durumu azaltırken, olumlu duygu durumu arttırmada önemli bir faktör olduğu (Becker, 1999), depresyon belirtilerini azalttığı (Garrity, Stallones, Marx ve Johnson, 1989) bulunmuştur. ...
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... Životinje doprinose kognitivnom, emocionalnom, fizičkom, socijalnom te moto- ričkom i općem razvoju, a ti učinci potvrđeni su na različitim subuzorcima u više znanstvenih studija (Triebenbacher, 2000.;Melson i Fine, 2006.; Endenburg i van Lith, 2011.;Bystrom i Persson, 2015.). ...
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This chapter demonstrates how the use of therapy and assistance animals significantly enhances human health and well-being. It addresses whether this end morally justifies the means of achieving it. The goal is to re-examine the animal/human partnership from the animal's viewpoint to see what the benefits might be for the animal, or to see if the raising, training, and use of therapy and assistance animals is causing significant degradation in their welfare. Further welfare challenges arise when therapy and assistance animals begin to age. There are many potential sources of chronic stress in the lives of therapy and assistance animals. Trainers, practitioners, and end-users of these animals should be educated to recognize the warning signs and act accordingly. Recent advances in avian medicine, nutrition, and behavior reveal that most of these birds have highly specialized needs relating to air quality, nutrition, lighting, housing, sleep, and both environmental and social enrichment. The lifecycle of the typical assistance animal generally involves a series of relatively abrupt changes in its social and physical environment. Assistance animals are expected to obey complex commands and perform relatively challenging physical activities that also create a potential for welfare problems.
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This article addresses challenges in designing Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) research. A summary of previous reviews of HAI research is presented, followed by a discussion of areas that present particular challenges to research in this field, specifically design issues, control of extraneous variables, sample selection, intervention development, and outcome measurement. Suggestions for addressing these areas also are presented.
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Companion animals are more common in households with minor children than in any other household type. More than 70% of U.S. households with children also have pets, with most parents reporting acquisition of an animal "for the children." Yet, studies of children's development largely have been limited to children's relationships with other humans. This article argues for a biocentric approach to development, in which children's contacts with the non-human world—animals, plants, and natural ecologies—come under scientific scrutiny. To understand the developmental significance of this ubiquitous aspect of children's environments, theory and research on companion animals in relation to perceptual, cognitive, social, and emotional development are reviewed and evaluated. The significance of children's encounters with animals, especially in the context of a human-companion animal bond, is emphasized. Biocentric research directions are described.
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We assessed the impact of a year-long, school-based humane education program on younger (first and second graders) and older (fourth and fifth graders) children's attitudes toward the treatment of animals. Generalization to human-directed empathy was also measured. Using a pretest-posttest design and ANCOVA, we found that the program enhanced the animal-related attitudes of children differentially, depending on grade level. For younger children, there was no significant difference between experimental (E) and control (C) group attitude means; however, qualitative analysis showed that greater enhancement of attitudes occurred for first grade E group children than for C group children at that grade level. No differences were present on the generalization measure of empathy. For older children, there was a significant difference between E and C group attitude means qualified by grade level—there was greater enhancement of humane attitudes for E group than for C group fourth graders but no difference for fifth graders. On the generalization measure of empathy, posttest means for the E group were significantly greater than means for the C group regardless of grade level. The results contribute to the growing literature on the relation between children and animals and serve to encourage and validate the efforts of humane educators to improve children's caring and kindness toward companion and noncompanion animals.
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The current study was designed to compare the socio-emotional characteristics of school children pet owners and children without pets and to examine whether the type of pet is a variable which can differentiate the socio-emotional development of their owners. The subjects, 425 girls and 401 boys, were students of fourth (n=265), sixth (n=295) and eighth (n=266) grade of elementary schools from the metropolitan area of Zagreb, Croatia. Socio-emotional variables assessed in the study were: child attachment to pet, child prosocial orientation, empathy, loneliness, perception of family climate and social anxiety. The data showed that 54.4% of children in the sample were pet owners (26.2% of children in the study had a dog, 9.2% had a cat, and 19.0% had some other pet). In order to answer the main research question, several analyses of variance (gender by grade by pet ownership) were computed for each criterion of socio-emotional development. Significant main effects were obtained for empathy, prosocial orientation and pet attachment, with dog owners being more empathic and prosocially oriented than non-owners, and dog owners and cat owners being more attached to their pets than owners of other kinds of pets. Additional analyses of variance were computed in order to examine the role of attachment in the socio-emotional functioning of the children. Subjects were divided in three sub-groups: non-owners, lower then average attached owners, and higher than average attached owners. Children who scored higher than average on the attachment to pets scale showed significantly higher scores on the empathy and prosocial orientation scales than non-owners and children who scored lower than average on the attachment to pets scale. It was also found that children with higher levels of attachment to pets rated their family climate significantly better than children who had lower attachment to pets.
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This study examines the effects of gender in conjunction with age, pet ownership, and sibling status on children's ideas about domestic animal young (puppies and kittens) and how they are nurtured. A theoretical model accounting for gender differences in the development of nurturance in children is presented. The model argues that children may develop knowledge about nurture from many sources, including animals, and that gender differences are most likely when behavior (versus knowledge) and baby care (versus animal care) are assessed. Ideas about animal young and animal caregiving of their young were individually assessed in structured interviews with 43 preschoolers and 42 second graders. Boys' ideas increased with age, while that of girls did not. Having a younger sibling was associated with more knowledge in boys but not in girls. Children with pets had more ideas about how adult animals cared for their young than did non-pet owners.
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Dolphin-Assisted Therapy (DAT) is an increasingly popular choice of treatment for illness and developmental disabilities by providing participants with the opportunity to swim or interact with live captive dolphins. Two reviews of DAT (Marino and Lilienfeld [1998] and Humphries [2003]) concluded that there is no credible scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this intervention. In this paper, we offer an update of the methodological status of DAT by reviewing five peer-reviewed DAT studies published in the last eight years. We found that all five studies were methodologically flawed and plagued by several threats to both internal and construct validity. We conclude that nearly a decade following our initial review, there remains no compelling evidence that DAT is a legitimate therapy or that it affords any more than fleeting improvements in mood.
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The literature on the relationship of companion animals and children shows only a weak effect of human-animal bonding on child development. The use of “pet ownership” or cohabitation rather than the relationship or interaction between the child and the animal as a measure of bonding appears to be a serious and limiting deficiency, which impaired the empirical evidence concerning the development and effects of human-animal bonding. The Companion Animal Bonding Scale is an 8-item behavioral scale describing the extent of child-animal activities. The scale was administered by questionnaire with a childhood focus and a contemporary focus to 121 high school and college students. The Cronbach alpha estimates of internal reliability were 0.82 and 0.77, respectively. Construct validity was indicated by significant correlations between scores on the Pet Attitude Scale and the childhood and contemporary bonding scale of .39 and .40, respectively.
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We propose a family process model that links economic stress in family life to prosocial and problematic adolescent adjustment. Employing a sample of 205 seventh-grade boys aged 12 to 14 years (M = 12.7) and living in intact families in the rural Midwest, the theoretical constructs in the model were measured using both trained observer and family member reports. In general, results were consistent with the proposed model. Objective economic conditions such as per capita income and unstable work were related to parents' emotional status and behaviors through their perceptions of increased economic pressures such as the inability to pay monthly bills. These pressures were associated with depression and demoralization for both parents, which was related to marital conflict and disruptions in skillful parenting. Disrupted parenting mediated the relations between the earlier steps in the stress process and adolescent adjustment. The emotions and behaviors of both mothers and fathers were almost equally affected by financial difficulties, and disruptions in each parent's child-rearing behaviors had adverse consequences for adolescent development.
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This chapter suggests that the evolutionary development of the human brain was shaped by the necessity to forage and hunt. As a by-product of this necessity, humans have an innate tendency to pay attention to animals and the natural surroundings. The tendency to pay attention to animals is in turn associated with an increased capacity for response inhibition, which is particularly enabling for children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or those who have difficulty learning from lecture or textual materials. Individuals with ADHD often tend to have more spontaneity than normal individuals. Their thinking is at times unrestrained and creative, but at other moments is quite disorganized and tangential. Their speech patterns are compromised in which they exhibit inarticulateness, disfluencies, and psycholinguistic impairments. They act unpredictably and lack the intermediate reflection between impulse and action that is required for goal-directed or context-regulated behavior. The central focus of disinhibition and the inadequacies of accommodating responses to situational demands result in a panoply of symptoms associated with ADHD, including behavioral impulsivity, disruptiveness, variability in attention and performance, disorganization, interpersonal tactlessness, impatience, mood changes, and sensation seeking typically in the form of risk-taking behaviors.
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Thesis (M.S.)--University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2000. Bibliography: leaves 24-27. Reprint of: "Observation scale of behavioral distress - revised" developed by Susan M. Jay and Charles Elliott was inserted.
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Using a multi-dimensional, multi-measure approach, this study examined children's attachment to their pets and related three dimensions of such attachment—behavioral, affective and cognitive—to empathy and perceived competence. Child characteristics (age, sex), family characteristics (marital status, socioeconomic status, maternal employment and family size) and pet type (dog, cat) as influences on attachment to pets also were explored. Individual interviews were conducted with 120 children from kindergarten, second-and fifth-grades, and questionnaire responses were collected from one parent of each child. Pet attachment was higher for older children and those whose mothers were employed. Pet attachment related differently to empathy and perceived competence depending upon grade level.
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Substantial sums of money are invested annually in preventative medicine and therapeutic treatment for people with a wide range of physical and psychological health problems, sometimes to no avail. There is now mounting evidence to suggest that companion animals, such as dogs and cats, can enhance the health of their human owners and may thus contribute significantly to the health expenditure of our country. This paper explores the evidence that pets can contribute to human health and well-being. The article initially concentrates on the value of animals for short- and long-term physical health, before exploring the relationship between animals and psychological health, focusing on the ability of dogs, cats, and other species to aid the disabled and serve as a “therapist” to those in institutional settings. The paper also discusses the evidence for the ability of dogs to facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of specific chronic diseases, notably cancer, epilepsy, and diabetes. Mechanisms underlying the ability of animals to promote human health are discussed within a theoretical framework. Whereas the evidence for a direct causal association between human well-being and companion animals is not conclusive, the literature reviewed is largely supportive of the widely held, and long-standing, belief that “pets are good for us.”
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In this article we use the framework of network analysis to assess the social ecology of the parent and child in relation to its possible effects upon child development. The personal social network is defined, and several routes of network influence transmission articulated. Access to direct assistance, the provision of childrearing controls, and the availability of role models are postulated as major processes through which this influence is transmitted. In a section about the direct influences of networks on parent and child we discuss cognitive and social stimulation, direct support, observational models, and opportunities for participation. This section is followed by one devoted to the developing child, where we place particular emphasis on the formation of reciprocal exchange skills. We then shift to a consideration of possible child developmental outcomes, both cognitive and social. The final sections of the paper include discussions of the key elements making up the personal network as a social system and proposed directions for future research.
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Ethological attachment theory is a landmark of 20th century social and behavioral sciences theory and research. This new paradigm for understanding primary relationships across the lifespan evolved from John Bowlby's critique of psychoanalytic drive theory and his own clinical observations, supplemented by his knowledge of fields as diverse as primate ethology, control systems theory, and cognitive psychology. By the time he had written the first volume of his classic Attachment and Loss trilogy, Mary D. Salter Ainsworth's naturalistic observations in Uganda and Baltimore, and her theoretical and descriptive insights about maternal care and the secure base phenomenon had become integral to attachment theory. Patterns of Attachment reports the methods and key results of Ainsworth's landmark Baltimore Longitudinal Study. Following upon her naturalistic home observations in Uganda, the Baltimore project yielded a wealth of enduring, benchmark results on the nature of the child's tie to its primary caregiver and the importance of early experience. It also addressed a wide range of conceptual and methodological issues common to many developmental and longitudinal projects, especially issues of age appropriate assessment, quantifying behavior, and comprehending individual differences. In addition, Ainsworth and her students broke new ground, clarifying and defining new concepts, demonstrating the value of the ethological methods and insights about behavior. Today, as we enter the fourth generation of attachment study, we have a rich and growing catalogue of behavioral and narrative approaches to measuring attachment from infancy to adulthood. Each of them has roots in the Strange Situation and the secure base concept presented in Patterns of Attachment. It inclusion in the Psychology Press Classic Editions series reflects Patterns of Attachment's continuing significance and insures its availability to new generations of students, researchers, and clinicians.
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Discusses the potential benefits of having pets for self-care children. Researchers suggest that companion animals can lower blood pressure, show up high on a list of children's helpers and indirectly increase feelings of safety. (RJC)
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This study addressed the issue of whether children who potentially have reduced access to parental resources have a stronger attachment bond with a dog, compared with children who have greater access. The study compared children in single-parent families with those in two-parent families on level of attachment to their family dog. Parents judged children's level of attachment to dogs by completing the Companion Animal Bonding Scale. The children's ages ranged between three and twelve years. Overall, children in single-parent families did show significantly higher levels of attachment to dogs than children in two-parent families. A comparison of attachment to dogs across family type showed that children in the early childhood stage in single-parent families had significantly higher levels of bonding with dogs than children in the early childhood stage in two-parent families. For the middle childhood stage there was no significant difference between family type and attachment to dogs. Comparisons within family type showed mixed results, and there were no significant gender differences in attachment levels across family type. Findings are discussed in light of attachment theory, family systems theory and implications for child development.
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This study focuses on three factors presumed to affect young children's development: their age, the quality of their home environments, and the child-pet relationship. Three sets of analyses are presented: effects associated with pet ownership (pet presence), effects associated with the strength of the child-pet relationship, and the combined effects of age, home environment, and the child-companion animal relationship. This study includes both a parent survey (n = 88) and in-home assessments (n = 44) of the three- to six-year-old children. The analyses support the hypothesis that normal preschool children's intellectual, motor, and social development is associated with the presence of a companion animal and increases with their age, the quality of their home environment, and their relationship with a companion animal. While the children's age and the quality of their home environments were associated with measures of the children's cognitive, motor, and social development, the companion animal effect was limited to the young children's social development including their empathy for other children.
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A sample of 514 adults completed a postal questionnaire measuring both their empathy with humans (using the Mehrabian and Epstein (1972) Questionnaire for the Measurement of Emotional Empathy) and their empathy with non-human animals (using the Animal Empathy Scale, developed for this study). There was a significant, but modest correlation between the two scales (Kendall's tau=0.26, p<0.001), indicating that although the two types of empathy measure are in some way linked, they are unlikely to tap a single, unitary construct. This conclusion is reinforced by the finding that human- and animal-oriented empathy exhibit different levels of association with different potential sources of variation. Animal-oriented empathy was related to the current ownership of pets (U=19825.5, p<0.0001) and to the ownership of pets during childhood (U=10271.0, p<0.01), while human-oriented empathy was related to currently having a child or children at home (U=21020.5, p<0.05).
Article
Determinants of pet ownership and involvement with pets by children from preschool age to preadolescence were assessed from reports of 707 parents. The relationship between pet ownership and involvement with pets and involvement in leisure and work activities by children was also examined. Child age and maternal employment were the most important predictors of both pet ownership and involvement with pets. As predicted, the availability of a pet was unrelated to children's work and leisure pursuits, but the extent of involvement with a pet was associated positively with other non-school activities, especially for second and fifth graders.
Article
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.
Article
Long-term effectiveness of dolphin assisted therapy, as practiced by Dolphin Human Therapy, was analyzed via a 15 item closed form, ratio scale parent questionnaire (n=71). Children with severe disabilities of many etiologies, from eight countries, received either one or two weeks of therapy in the multidisciplinary, behavior modification program. Results on three clinical issues were analyzed. First, children maintained or improved skills acquired in therapy about 50% of the time even after 12 months away from therapy. Second, no difference in long-term effects occurred as a function of differences in three categories (genetic, brain damage, unknown causes) of etiology (ANOVA, F(2,39)=2.79, p>0.05). Third, two weeks of therapy produced significantly better long-term results than did one week of therapy (t=3.105, df=28, p<0.01).
Article
To test the idea that dogs have a positive influence on the social behavior of school children, one of three dogs was introduced alternately into a class at an elementary school in Vienna, attended by 24 children (mean age: 6.7 years). Most of the 14 boys and ten girls came from first-generation immigrant families. With parental consent, their behavior was videotaped for two hours every week, during “open teaching situations,” first during a one-month control period in the absence of dogs, followed by an experimental period of similar duration, when a dog was present in the classroom. Frequency and duration of all observable behaviors of individuals and their interactions were coded from these tapes. Although major individual differences were found in the children's interest in the dog and their behavioral responses, the group became socially more homogenous due to decreased behavioral extremes, such as aggressiveness and hyperactivity; also, formerly withdrawn individuals became socially more integrated. Effects were more pronounced in the boys than the girls. Even though the children spent considerable time watching and making contacting with the dog, they also paid more attention to the teacher. We conclude that the presence of a dog in a classroom could positively stimulate social cohesion in children and provide a relatively cheap and easy means of improving teaching conditions.
Article
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has been practiced for many years and there is now increasing interest in demonstrating its efficacy through research. To date, no known quantitative review of AAT studies has been published; our study sought to fill this gap. We conducted a comprehensive search of articles reporting on AAT in which we reviewed 250 studies, 49 of which met our inclusion criteria and were submitted to meta-analytic procedures. Overall, AAT was associated with moderate effect sizes in improving outcomes in four areas: Autism-spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties, behavioral problems, and emotional well-being. Contrary to expectations, characteristics of participants and studies did not produce differential outcomes. AAT shows promise as an additive to established interventions and future research should investigate the conditions under which AAT can be most helpful.
Article
While studies of human/animal interactions have generated much creditable research, have produced a considerable body of related experimental data, and have pointed to many fruitful future lines of inquiry, their authors have been accused of having no theoretical foundations. But studies of the human/companion animal bond (H/CAB) already undertaken have been based on animal/animal, human/human, and human/object relationships as analogous theories most likely to provide the comprehensive inductive, deductive, and functional theoretical bases needed. In order to arrive at a more encompassing theory that can be used to organize data and results, to explain obtained results, and to generate reliable predictions for data not yet obtained, the present weaknesses in each of the models need to be rigorously analyzed for likenesses and differences, and those data that do not seem to fit any of the model analogues must be pinpointed for more exacting research.
Article
A group of elementary students (n = 155) were surveyed with respect to four aspects of relationships with pets—preference, ownership, attachment, and attitude—in order to further explore the connection that appears to exist between human-animal interactions and empathy. The investigation was initiated, in part, in order to elaborate upon findings from an earlier study (Daly and Morton 2003) and focused mainly on the relationships between children and dogs and cats, although horses, birds, and fish were also included. Some of the general findings related to dogs and cats are: (1) children who preferred (Pet Preference Inventory) both dogs and cats were more empathic than those who preferred cats or dogs only; (2) those who owned both dogs and cats were more empathic than those who owned only a dog, owned only a cat, or who owned neither; (3) those who were highly attached to their pets (Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale) were more empathic than those who were less attached; and (4) empathy and positive attitude (Pet Attitude Scale) revealed a significant positive correlation. As expected, girls were significantly more empathic than boys. Moreover, while cell sizes were low with respect to pet preference and ownership, empathy was also higher for individuals who expressed a preference for birds and horses. While the earlier study (Daly and Morton 2003) indicated that higher empathy was associated with dog ownership more so than other pets, including cats, a notable finding of the present study is that empathy appears to be positively associated with individuals who prefer, and/or who own, both a dog and a cat. The implications extend to the need: (1) for continued empirical research investigating the relationship between human-animal interactions and empathy; and (2) to refine the questions that lead to a clearer explanation of this relationship.
Article
The effectiveness of two week dolphin-assisted therapy was compared to the effectiveness of six month conventional physical and speech-language therapy. Data were analyzed using a multiple baseline single subject across settings design, for 47 children with severe disabilities (20 females, 27 males), of multiple etiologies. Children were placed in a physical therapy group (n = 17, mean age = 6 years, 8 months) and a speech language group (n = 30, mean age = 6 years 5 months). Standardized charting procedures were used to measure acquisition of independent motor and speech-language skills. Use of t tests for nonindependent samples indicates that relative to conventional long-term therapy, dolphin-assisted therapy, as practiced by Dolphin Human Therapy, achieves positive results more quickly and is also more cost effective.
Article
This study examined the effects of the presence of a dog in the classroom on field independence, social competence, empathy with animals and social-emotional atmosphere. The participants were 46 first-graders (43 of them immigrants) of two school classes (control and experimental). In the experimental group, a dog was present in the classroom for three months. Multivariate analyses revealed significant enhancement of field independence and empathy with animals in the experimental group in comparison to the control group (no dog). Thus, the presence of the dog fostered the development of autonomous functioning and a better segregation of self/non-self, which is the foundation of sensitivity towards the needs and moods of other people. Moreover, according to the views of the teachers, the children in the experimental group exhibited higher social integration, and there were fewer aggressive children, compared with the children in the control group. In sum, the results indicate that a dog can be an important factor in the social and cognitive development of children.
Article
This study assessed the maintenance of the effect of a year-long school-based humane education program on fourth grade children's attitudes toward animals. Generalization to human-directed empathy was also measured. Using a pretest-posttest (Year 1) follow-up (Year 2) design and ANCOVA, we found that the experimental group (children who experienced the program) humane attitudes mean was greater than the control group mean at initial posttesting and at the Year 2 follow up. At both Year 1 and Year 2 posttesting, the enhancement of attitudes toward animals generalized to human-directed empathy, especially when the quality of the children's relations with their pets was considered as a covariate. The results contribute to the growing literature on the significance of the relations between children and animals, and serve to encourage humane education efforts.
Article
This paper reviews the patterns and effects of early adolescents' involvement in the care of animals and the relationship between that experience and selected family and individual variables. It provides baseline data on early adolescents and animal involvement concerning: species of animals, family income, family relationships, parental views of animal raising, animal owner self-esteem and self-management, and the view of youth on the benefits of animal involvement.
Children who experience interparental conflict have more difficulty with internalizing and externalizing problems. Children's ability to manage their emotional and physiological arousal buffer them from the effects of interparental conflict. The child–pet bond is associated with emotional and physiological management, yet researchers have not explored the buffering effects of this relationship in the face of interparental conflict. This article reviews salient literature and presents implications for social work research and practice on this topic.