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Gesundheitswesen. 1999 Jan;61(1):45-9.

[Effect of pets on human health: is there a correlation?].

[Article in German]

Author information

1
Abteilung für Medizinische Psychologie, Universität Freiburg.

Abstract

Is there a Relationship? Despite an increasing number of studies devoted to the health benefits of interacting with pets, the empirical evidence of such an effect still remains weak. Many reports comparing health-related variables in pet owners and non-owners do not find significant differences. Some studies find a statistical correlation between pet ownership and better health, but they do not adequately demonstrate that the better health is a result of the pet. There is experimental evidence suggesting that the presence of animals is associated with a lowering of cardiovascular responses to stressors. Accordingly, pets could be used in the therapy of stress-related diseases. Nevertheless, no consistent clinical studies testing this hypothesis have been carried out. Moreover, neither evolutionary nor learning hypothesis for the observed decrease in cardiovascular reactivity have been tested till now. Research on the benefits of pet ownership still are in its preliminary steps. Further studies are needed for the understanding of the underlying psychological mechanisms of human/animal relationship and its therapeutic possibilities.

PMID:
10081186
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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