How do those suffering from depression benefit from having a dog?

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How do those suffering from depression benefit from having a dog?
HOW DO THOSE SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION
BENEFIT FROM HAVING A DOG?
WINNIE WU
SBS2000 – FALL 2015
RATIONALE

Constantly hear stories about the great bond between humans & their dogs

Can this bond have an affect on a person’s health and well-being?

As a dog owner myself, I’ve come to realize dogs can alter my behavior.

Will it have the same effect on those suffering from depression?
 HYPOTHESIS:
 Having a dog as a companion can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression.
Brownie, 9
Casper, 10
LITERATURE REVIEW
 Fick, K.M. (1993).The Influence of an Animal on Social Interactions of Nursing Home Residents in a
Group Setting. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47(6), 529-534.

Study carried out in a nursing home to determine the effects of having the presence of a pet on the frequency of social
interactions among the residents during group therapy sessions

Results: Increase in the frequency of social interactions while in the presence of a pet

Conclusion: Presence of a pet creates a comfortable environment, allowing more free-flowing social interactions
LITERATURE REVIEW
 Crowley-Robinson, P., Fenwick, D.C., & Blackshaw, J.K. (1996). A long-term study of elderly people in
nursing homes with visiting and resident dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 47, 137-148.

Study done across 3 nursing homes to see if an addition of a dog (either visiting or resident) will have beneficial effects on
the lives of the residents

Results: Residents exposed to a resident or visiting dog had a reduction in tension, confusion, fatigue, and depression

Conclusion: There are many health benefits to having a dog in a nursing home as it greatly improved the well-being of many
residents.
LITERATURE REVIEW
 Siegel, J. (1990). Stressful Life Events and Use of Physician Services among the Elderly:The
Moderating Role of Pet Ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(6), 1081-1086.

Study done to determine if owning a pet will help reduce the number of doctor visits among the elderly

Results: Decrease in the frequency of doctor visits among those with a pet. Those without pets showed a higher frequency
of doctor visits due to stress-related events.

Conclusion: Owning a pet, particularly a dog, may help to reduce the frequency of doctor visits among the elderly.
LITERATURE REVIEW
 Allen, K.M., Blascovich, J.,Tomaka, J., & Kelsey, R.M. (1991). Presence of Human Friends and Pet
Dogs as Moderators of Autonomic Responses to Stress in Women. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 61(4), 582-589.

Study done to see if women would be better able to adapt to stress while in the presence of a dog.

Results: Women displayed a reduction in psychological threat when in the presence of a dog.

Conclusion: The positive feelings the dogs evoke in their owners may improve the individual’s ability to adapt to stress.
LITERATURE REVIEW
 McConnell, A.R., Brown, C.M., Shoda, T.M., Stayton, & L.E., Martin, C.E. (2011). Friends with Benefits:
On the Positive Consequences of Pet Ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(6),
1239-1252.

Study done to see if owning a pet can benefit and help individuals that are feeling stressed.

Results: Individuals that owned a pet experienced greater well-being, displayed healthier behavioral characteristics, and
greater fulfillment of social needs.

Conclusion: Owning a pet improves overall well-being and benefits to the lives of their owners.
LITERATURE REVIEW
 Serpell, J. (1991). Beneficial effects of pet ownership on some aspects of human health and
behaviour. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 84, 717-720.

Study done to examine if there were positive and beneficial changes in the behavior and health status of individuals after
acquiring a new pet

Results: Those who acquired a pet showed a significant reduction in minor health problems in comparison to those without
pets, who showed no significant changes.

Conclusion: Pet acquisition may have positive and beneficial effects on human health and behavior.
METHOD

Questionnaire/Survey

Advantages:



Low cost

Data is easily accessible compared to some other methods
Limitations:

Not everyone is willing to divulge personal health information (i.e., suffering from depression)

Those suffering from depression may not own a dog
Sample:

Dog owners

Elderly (depression is prevalent at old age)

Non-elderly
CONCLUSION
 Unable to fully complete and collect relevant data with my method to prove my hypothesis
 Numerous studies have shown that owning a dog or merely being in the presence of one may benefit an individual not
only physically, but mentally as well.


Reduction in:

Depression

Tension & Confusion

Fatigue

Stress

Minor physical illnesses
Increase in:

Vigor

Healthy behavior

Social interactions
REFERENCES
 Allen, K.M., Blascovich, J., Tomaka, J., & Kelsey, R.M. (1991). Presence of Human Friends and Pet Dogs as
Moderators of Autonomic Responses to Stress in Women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
61(4), 582-589.
 Crowley-Robinson, P., Fenwick, D.C., & Blackshaw, J.K. (1996). A long-term study of elderly people in
nursing homes with visiting and resident dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 47, 137-148.
 Fick, K.M. (1993).The Influence of an Animal on Social Interactions of Nursing Home Residents in a
Group Setting. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47(6), 529-534.
 McConnell, A.R., Brown, C.M., Shoda,T.M., Stayton, & L.E., Martin, C.E. (2011). Friends with Benefits: On
the Positive Consequences of Pet Ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(6), 12391252.
 Serpell, J. (1991). Beneficial effects of pet ownership on some aspects of human health and behaviour.
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 84, 717-720.
 Siegel, J. (1990). Stressful Life Events and Use of Physician Services among the Elderly:The Moderating
Role of Pet Ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(6), 1081-1086.

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