Grants & Funding Projects Current Companion Animals, Social Engagement, and Psychological Well-Being in Mid and Later Adulthood

Companion Animals, Social Engagement, and Psychological Well-Being in Mid and Later Adulthood

Principal Investigator
Rebecca A Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP

Rationale

As the number of individuals in mid- (55-64) and later- (65+) adulthood increase, it is vital to understand mechanisms by which social engagement can be facilitated because of its strong link to well-being, which has been associated with health. The aim of the proposed study is to examine the relationship between companion animal (CA) ownership and CA bonding on social engagement and psychological well-being, as well as the relationship between social engagement and psychological well-being across two age cohorts.

Objective

The primary objective of this study is to examine the contribution of CA ownership to social engagement (social contacts, organizational participation), and psychological well-being (depression, life satisfaction) of adults. The secondary objective is to examine the degree of bonding with a companion animal as a moderator of the relationship between social engagement and psychological well-being.

Hypothesis

People who have a dog or cat will be less socially isolated, have lower depression, and higher life satisfaction compared to non-pet owners.