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Friends with benefits: pets and emotional well-being (USA)

July 28, 2011

Researchers from Miami University in Ohio have recently found that pet owners do better in the areas of physical fitness, self-esteem, conscientiousness, social communication, and reduced worrying and fearfulness, than people who do not have pets. Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers evaluated the benefits of owning a pet among “everyday people”.

Three studies were conducted with subject groups varying in size, income levels and age. In all three groups, and regardless of the variables, pet owners experienced enhanced levels of emotional positivity, feelings of belonging, self-esteem, happiness and well-being.

The authors conclude that pets benefit the emotional and physical lives of their owners by providing important social support and that there are many benefits to having a four-legged friend.

See “Friends With Benefits: On the Positive Consequences of Pet Ownership”, Allen R. McConnell, PhD, Miami University; Christina M. Brown, PhD, Saint Louis University; Tonya M. Shoda, MA, Laura E. Stayton, BA, and Colleen E. Martin, BA. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 101, No. 6. 10.1037/a0024506.

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