Pet and human psyche psychology psylex

Pets and humans (psyche, psychology)Research articles and news that focus on the psychological effects of pets on the human psyche, on well-being.

Pets: Always good for psychological well-being?

03.12.2016 One in the journal Journal of Positive Psychology published a study by the Ruhr University Bochum investigated the effects pets have on our psychological well-being.

For this purpose, researchers from the Department of Psychology interviewed 631 owners of dogs, cats and horses. The online questionnaire captured positive mood, life satisfaction, subjectively perceived advantages ('benefit factors') and disadvantages ('cost factors').

Effects on the subjective sense of well-being

"The question of whether pets make us feel good, make us happier and more satisfied is not so easy to answer," explains study author Anna Kalitzki. "The important question here is probably under what conditions certain animals are good for our well-being."

The psychologists noted in their analysis of the data:

– Pet owners' sense of psychological well-being increases when they see pet ownership as a meaningful 'task in their lives'; perceive it as a 'social role'. – If the attitude of the animal corresponds to their need for autonomy.

Pet ownership had a negative effect on the psyche,

– if the financial expenditure was seen rather as a burden. – Also, stronger attachment to the pet has a negative impact on mental well-being. The psychologists ame that this could be caused by restriction or replacement of social ties with other people.

Dog, cat, horse

There were no differences in the pets dog, cat, and horse on owner satisfaction, although the researchers identified certain 'cost and benefit factors'.

– Horses were more likely to evoke a sense of purpose in their owners (than dogs or cats) and promote an experience of autonomy, but they were also more likely to be perceived as a financial and time-intensive burden. – Cats were experienced as the least supportive, but were also perceived as the least burdensome.

Prof. Dr. Maike Luhmann from the Psychological Methodology Unit says: "In some respects, pets can be compared to children. They can be a source of pure joy and make you feel needed and loved. But at the same time, dealing with them can sometimes be stressful and – depending on the stage of life – can be a financial burden. Overall, the positive. To balance negative influences on the well-being. Therefore, before deciding to get a pet, it is important for each individual to consider the various factors and evaluate and weigh them based on their personal situation."

© PSYLEX.en – Source: Ruhr University Bochum, IDW-Online, The Journal of Positive Psychology –; Dec. 2016

No link between pets and child health

07.08.2017 One in the journal Anthrozoos published study examined the widespread belief that having a dog or cat in the home improves a child's mental or physical health.

The study analyzed data from more than 2.200 children who lived in pet households in California and compared them to about 3.000 households without a dog or cat.

Physical and mental health

pet and human psyche psychology psylex

Picture: Michal Jarmoluk

The researchers could find no evidence that children from families with dogs or cats showed benefits in terms of mental or physical health, said study author Layla Parast of the nonprofit RAND research organization.

Everyone on the research team was surprised, she said, because they all kept or grew up with dogs or cats. They had essentially amed from their own personal experience that there was a connection.

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