New Research to Study Relationship between Pet Ownership and Youth Development in a Nationally-Representative Dataset | HABRI

New Research to Study Relationship between Pet Ownership and Youth Development in a Nationally-Representative Dataset

Human Animal Bond Research Institute Awards Grant to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

Washington, D.C. (September 25, 2019) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today a new research project to determine the role of pet ownership in predicting trajectories of youth development. Funded by a grant from HABRI, researchers at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University aim to determine whether there are systematic differences between families who own pets and those without pets with regard to demographics, social environment, and health status, and if these factors predict patterns of pet ownership over time.

“Existing human-animal interaction research is limited in exploring how race, ethnicity, and culture are related to pet ownership, and because the sample analyzed in this study will be nationally representative, we hope to have data on a very diverse group of youth,” said the study’s Principal Investigator, Megan Kiely Mueller, PhD, the Elizabeth Arnold Stevens Junior Professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. “This research project will capitalize on a rigorous study design, and a measurement model specifically designed for understanding how environmental experiences influence cognitive and social development and health outcomes.”

The goal of the study is to leverage available data from a unique population-based longitudinal study of adolescent development, the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by analyzing pet ownership information to answer key questions about the relationship between human-animal interaction and trajectories of youth development, including social interaction and support, academic performance, mental health and physical activity.

The study includes a baseline cohort of over 11,800 youth enrolled in the ABCD study at 9-10 years of age and their parents/guardians, who will be followed for ten years. In addition to assessing youth development, the study will use the ABCD data to assess if there are systematic differences between families who own pets and those without pets with regard to demographics, cultural/ethnic identity, social environment, and health status and if these factors predict patterns of pet ownership (e.g., stability or changes in pet ownership status) over time. Principal Investigator Megan Kiely Mueller, PhD, expects that analyzing pet ownership data from the ABCD will allow for understanding broad sociodemographic patterns of pet ownership as well as causal relationships between pet ownership and trajectories of youth development.

“HABRI is proud to be supporting this high-impact research that has great potential to fulfill the need for more longitudinal, nationally-representative data in the field of human-animal interaction,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director, HABRI. “We hope this study will help us gain further insight into the factors that influence pet ownership, while also building on existing science that supports a positive relationship between pet ownership and youth development.”

About HABRI

HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds 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, please visit www.habri.org.

Contact

Jamie Baxter

jamie@theimpetusagency.com

775.322.4022

###

Press Releases
New Research to Explore the Health Benefits of Cat Fostering for Older Adults

Funded by a two-year grant from the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), faculty from the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Family and Consumer Science and the Obesity Initiative are collaborating on a new research project to examine the impact of pet companionship on mental and emotional health in older adults living alone. “Housing and health are essential to overall well-being, a fact known to pertain to both humans and animals”, said Heidi Ewen, assistant professor, Colleges of Public Health and Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia. “We have proposed a unique solution to help older adults living alone at home establish new social bonds, by pairing them with homeless foster cats.” Partnering with the Athens Area Humane Society and UGA’s Campus Cats organization, a rescue group that works with homeless cats on campus, the team will match foster parents and felines. The team is led by Heidi Ewen and Sherry Sanderson, a veterinarian and associate professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Beginning in October, the team will begin to identify older adults in the Athens Area that are willing to foster cats. The 34 pairs of cats and seniors will then be interviewed and assessed throughout the study to determine whether having a pet in the house leads to changes in their emotional well-being. Assessments include, loneliness, emotional well-being, and purpose of life scales as well as measures of attachment to, and comfort from, the foster cat. Findings are expected to demonstrate improvements in mental and behavioral health in foster parents including reduction in loneliness and depression, and that attachment to the companion animal will increase the duration of fostering or lead to adoption of the foster cat. “As efforts around the country have increased to reduce euthanasia rates of homeless pets, there is an increasing reliance upon foster homes to bridge the time between...

Press Releases
Study Finds Dogs De-Stress Families with Autistic Children

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation announced today the results of a long-term study to explore the effects of pet dogs on families with children with autism spectrum disorder, just published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior. The findings of the study showed significantly improved family functioning of families with a dog compared to those without. The study also found a reduction in parent-child dysfunctional interactions among families that had a dog. “While there‭ ‬is‭ ‬growing‭ ‬evidence ‬that ‬animal-assisted‭ ‬therapy‭ ‬can aid in ‬the‭ ‬treatment‭ ‬of‭ children with ‬autism‭ ‬spectrum‭ ‬disorders, this study is one of the first to examine how‭ ‬pet‭ ‬dog‭ ‬ownership‭ ‬can also ‬improve‭ ‬the‭ ‬lives‭ ‬of‭ ‬those‭ ‬more widely affected‭ ‬by‭ ‬autism,” said the principal investigator ‬on the study, Professor Daniel Mills, BVSc, PhD, from the University of Lincoln, UK. “We found a significant,‭ ‬positive‭ ‬relationship‭ ‬between‭ ‬parenting‭ ‬stress‭ ‬of‭ ‬the child‭’‬s‭ ‬main‭ ‬caregiver‭ ‬and‭ ‬their‭ ‬attachment‭ ‬to‭ ‬the‭ family dog. This highlights the importance of the bond between the carer and their dog in the benefits they gain.”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman said: “Parents of children with autism can experience increased anxiety and stress, and now we have strong scientific evidence to show that pets can have positive effects on these quality-of-life issues. Families with an autistic child should consider pet ownership as a way to improve family harmony.” This...

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!