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Int J Aging Hum Dev. 1987;25(4):279-91.

Effects of pet and/or people visits on nursing home residents.

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Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University.


A previous study by the author supported the recently popular idea that live pet-visits increased desirable behaviors in nursing home residents such as smiling and alertness, but it also suggested that people-visits may be even more effective. The purpose of the present study was therefore to compare the effects of different visiting programs (people-alone, people-plus-pets, pets-alone and no visit) on the behaviors of nursing home residents (proximity, talking, smiling, ambulation, alertness). All three visiting programs of people-alone, people-plus-pets, and pets-alone increased the behaviors of smiling and alertness in comparison to control conditions in the nursing home lounge. Close proximity to the person-alone visitor was, however, associated with the greatest number of positive resident behaviors. Future research is suggested to examine the characteristics that make effective pet and person visitors for nursing home residents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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