Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Announces Results of First Research Project
Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2015) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced the publication of a systematic literature review on Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) for trauma in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. The findings demonstrated that the animals helped ease anxiety, reduce depression, and mitigate symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
This is the first published study of more than a dozen HABRI-funded research projects examining the effects of companion animals on human health. Marguerite E. O’Haire, PhD, of Purdue University, systematically collected and critically assessed current research from a variety of electronic databases, including HABRI Central, on AAI for trauma in order to more closely look at the empirical data that evaluates the practice of animal inclusion in psychological treatment. Participants in the studies were predominantly survivors of child abuse, followed by military veterans. The most common animals included in treatment were dogs and horses.
“We conclude that AAI may provide promise as a complementary treatment option for trauma, but that further research is essential to establish feasibility, efficacy and manualizable protocols,” said Dr. O’Haire.
The study researched current evidence that suggests animals may provide unique elements to address several PTSD symptoms. For example, people with PTSD often experience emotional numbing, yet the presence of an animal has been reported to elicit positive emotions and warmth. Animals have also been demonstrated as social facilitators that can connect people and reduce loneliness, which may assist individuals with PTSD break out of isolation and connect to the humans around them.
“Based on Dr. O’Haire’s work, HABRI has further evidence that AAI can positively affect depression, anxiety, social outcomes, sleep, child functioning and quality of life,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “With this important study as a roadmap, HABRI has committed funding for a study of the impact of service animals for post-September 11th war veterans and for a study on equine therapy for survivors of domestic violence.”
Founded by Petco, Zoetis, and the American Pet Products Association and supported by a growing number of organizations, the HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; to date has funded more than half a million dollars in innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information about the HABRI Foundation, visit www.habri.org.
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New Research to Study Impacts of Pet Ownership on Healthy Aging in Healthcare and Social Service Settings
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today a grant to the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging for a new study, Uncovering Pet Ownership Benefits, Challenges, and Resources in an Aging Society: Promoting Healthy Aging in Healthcare and Community Environments. This study aims to identity pet ownership issues raised in healthcare and social service settings by older adults and their caregivers. “Addressing the topic of pet ownership can promote honest and productive communication, uncovering risks and benefits to patients’ health,” said the study’s Principal Investigator, Jessica Bibbo, PhD, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. “We expect the results of this systematic investigation will elevate pet ownership issues from anecdotal professional experiences to recognized factors that shape the values and preferences of older adults, people living with dementia, and caregivers.” This study will survey a large interdisciplinary sample of professionals working with older adults, people living with dementia and caregivers about pet ownership. The researchers aim to complete three objectives as part of this comprehensive study: The first will be to identify the prevalence of pet ownership issues encountered among an extensive inter-professional sample of health care and social service organization professionals working directly with older adults and their caregivers. The second will be to identify specific benefits, challenges and resources provided by pet ownership and the human-animal bond encountered by professionals working with older adults and their caregivers. Finally, researchers will apply these results to create and disseminate information to health care and social service professionals on the benefits, challenges, and resources provided by pet ownership and the human-animal bond to promote the healthy aging of older adults and their caregivers. “The desire to experience the human-animal bond does not end with a diagnosis of dementia,”...
Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) Shareable Infographic: The Top Benefits of Pet Ownership for Healthy Hearts
In recognition of Heart Health Month, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) has created a new shareable infographic, “The Top Benefits of Pet Ownership for Healthy Hearts”. The infographic highlights research supporting the positive role of pets in improving cardiovascular health. “Scientific research shows a link between pet ownership and improved heart health, including a lower risk of heart diseases and heart-related health issues,” said HABRI President Steven Feldman. “HABRI’s goal is to raise awareness of the important role of human-animal bond for healthier hearts during Heart Health Month, a time to focus on cardiovascular health.” This infographic is part of an ongoing series to share human-animal bond research. In June, HABRI shared “Can Pets Help You Live Longer?“. In November, HABRI issued “5 ways the Human-Animal Bond is Improving Lives During the Pandemic”.
New Study to Explore the Connection Between Human and Pet Health
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a $27,000 grant to Lincoln Memorial University, for a study titled, Measuring the Impact of a Mutually Reinforcing Relationship Between Pet Owners and Their Pets. This research project will analyze data collected via a series of public health fairs and develop a general model of health and wellness behavior to examine the relationship between the health of humans and their pets and whether patterns of health and health-associated behaviors are similar. It is anticipated that the model will help determine that pets share the same health benefits and risks as their owners. “Healthy pets make healthy people,” said HABRI Executive Director Steve Feldman. “Lincoln Memorial University can help us establish this important connection so that the human-animal bond is universally accepted as an essential element of human wellness.” The one-year pilot study will aim to obtain data sufficient to describe the current state of health and health associated behaviors in pet owner-pet pairs in the Cumberland Gap Region (CGR) of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Health metric data including body weight, heart rate, blood pressure and height will be collected for 300 human subjects and their pet dogs or cats through conducting a series of public health fairs. The investigators seek to use the data to formulate a general model of health and health associated behavior. “Few studies have simultaneously investigated the health and health promoting behaviors of owners and pets,” said principal investigator Dr. Charles Faulkner, Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Lincoln Memorial University. “We believe the model developed in this study will help provide evidence that the relationship between humans and companion animals mutually reinforces their health and quality of life. This is especially important in a geographic region where residents rank at the bottom in health outcomes for heart...