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J Appl Gerontol. 2019 Jun 19:733464819856270. doi: 10.1177/0733464819856270. [Epub ahead of print]

The Role of Pets in Supporting Cognitive-Behavioral Chronic Pain Self-Management: Perspectives of Older Adults.

Author information

1
1 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.
2
2 Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.

Abstract

Cognitive-behavioral self-management strategies are recommended for older adults with chronic pain. The goal of this study was to explore how pet ownership promotes use of these strategies in everyday life. We conducted four focus groups (N = 25) with dog and cat owners aged ≥70 years with persistent pain. Participants described how their pets affect their daily routines and health, including pain and its management. We analyzed transcripts for salient themes, categorizing them according to their alignment with recommended pain self-management strategies: Mood Management (e.g., increases positive affect), Relaxation/Distraction (e.g., soothing presence), Physical Activity (e.g., dog-walking), Behavioral Activation (e.g., motivates activity even when pain present), Social Activation (e.g., facilitates socializing), and Sleep (e.g., encourages routine). Some participants described negative impacts of pet ownership. Having pets can facilitate behaviors and thoughts that may enhance coping with pain. Testing formal ways of leveraging pets' role may expand nonpharmacological options for chronic pain management.

KEYWORDS:

health behavior; human–animal interaction; qualitative methods

PMID:
31215816
PMCID:
PMC6920602
[Available on 2020-12-19]
DOI:
10.1177/0733464819856270

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