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Study finds pets improve outcomes for people with mental health conditions


The therapeutic function that pets can provide to the mental health of people continue to gain recognition. A new study published in the journal BMC Psychiatry looked at previous research that studied the role of pets in the lives of people with mental health problems and found that pets can improve their quality of life.

  • A team of researchers from the University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, and University of Southampton looked at how pets play a role in the lives of people living with a mental health condition.
  • The researchers carried out a systematic review on a total of 17 international research papers in order to determine the positive, negative, and neutral impacts of owning a companion animal.
  • They pointed to the “intensiveness” of connectivity people with pets reported, and the different ways in which companion animals played a role in how their owners are managing their mental health condition, especially in crucial times.
  • Pets provide emotional support to their owners, helping them manage the symptoms of their mental disorder.
  • In addition, they emphasized that there are negative features that come with owning a pet, such as the practical and emotional burden of owning one and the psychological effect when they lose their pet.
  • The review of studies highlighted that pets give benefits to individuals who live with a mental health problem.

In conclusion, the findings of the study indicate that people living with a mental health condition benefit from having a companion animal as they help them manage symptoms when they arise.

For the full text of the study, go to this link.

Journal Reference:

Helen Louise Brooks, Kelly Rushton, Karina Lovell, Penny Bee, Lauren Walker, Laura Grant, Anne Rogers. THE POWER OF SUPPORT FROM COMPANION ANIMALS FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND NARRATIVE SYNTHESIS OF THE EVIDENCE. BMC Psychiatry, 2018; 18 (1) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-018-1613-2



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