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The Effects of Pet Ownership on Anxiety and Depression Among Trauma-Exposed College Students

By Dung N. Nguyentran, Marlene A. Michniak, James J. Jung, Christine Q. Do

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Abstract

Rates of anxiety and depression are prevalent in college students and can be attributed in part to stress and trauma-related events. However, studies suggest that pet ownership has the possibility of alleviating symptoms of anxiety, depression, negative emotions, and suicide. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between pet ownership and levels of anxiety and depression among those who have experienced a traumatic event. The sample was comprised of five hundred and forty-seven VCU students who completed an online survey from Spit for Science during their junior year. Linear regressions were performed to determine the nature and strength of the relationship between our two variables. After controlling for gender, race/ethnicity, personality, social support, and resiliency, we found statistically significant lower levels of anxiety and depression among pet owners compared to non-pet owners (p=0.004). This study reinforces how pets can impact our mental health, and lends further research to support programs such as VCU’s Center for Human-Animal Interaction (CHAI) and their Dogs on Call program.

Submitter

Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

URL https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/uresposters/227/
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Dung N. Nguyentran; Marlene A. Michniak; James J. Jung; Christine Q. Do (2018), "The Effects of Pet Ownership on Anxiety and Depression Among Trauma-Exposed College Students," http://habricentral.org/resources/63839.

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Tags
  1. Animal roles
  2. Anxiety
  3. Depression
  4. Mental health and well-being
  5. open access
  6. Pet ownership
  7. Pets and companion animals
  8. students
  9. trauma
  10. Universities and Colleges
Badges
  1. open access