Volume 6

A Comparison of The Perceived Well Being of Pet Owners and Non-Pet Owners

Vicki Lee Schofield

The presence of companion dogs have been found to benefit stress. This study was conducted to examine perceptions of benefits companion animals have on stress reduction. One hundred twenty-five adults completed surveys including measures of animal liking, bonding, and companionship. They also evaluated the stress and depression levels of a hypothetical student varying in pet ownership status (dog, cat, ferret, parrot, no pet). Results showed that dog owners were viewed as experiencing less stress than non pet owners. Stress level perception did not differ among other pet owners. Perceptions of depression also did not vary by pet ownership. Participants’ liking of animals was positively related to feelings of animal attachment and companionship. Further, those who were primary caregivers of animals perceived the hypothetical student as lower in stress than did non-caregivers. Overall, results suggested that pets may serve to relieve stress and could have a variety of health related benefits.

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