The HABRI Foundation is calling for research proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. To learn more, visit close

You are here: Home / Reports / Practitioner Attitudes and Beliefs Regarding the Role Animals Play in Human Health / About

Practitioner Attitudes and Beliefs Regarding the Role Animals Play in Human Health

By Felicia Trembath

Category Reports

Many studies have evaluated the effectiveness of animals in improving patient outcomes, such as their ability to improve cardiovascular health or alleviate depression symptoms. However, little research has been done to evaluate the beliefs of practitioners about the role that animals can play in human health. Since practitioners are gatekeepers to treatments, understanding their beliefs about animals’ utility in human health interventions is fundamental to the mainstream acceptance of animals to achieve specific therapy goals. If practitioners do not believe or understand how animals can improve human health, they are unlikely to prescribe such treatments. Thus it is essential to evaluate and understand the attitudes and beliefs of practitioners regarding the relationship between animals and human health.

Research into practitioner attitudes began in 1979, with an investigation of allergists beliefs regarding pet ownership among allergic patients. Since that time several other studies on pet-keeping and immunology have been conducted. However, the majority of the research into practitioner attitudes and beliefs on the role animals play in human health has centered on animal assisted interactions (AAI). This brief summarizes the current knowledge on practitioner attitudes and beliefs regarding the role that animals play in human health as well as makes recommendations for future research.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date December 2014
Series Title HABRI Central Briefs
Pages 7
Language English
Institution Purdue University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted interventions
  2. Animal roles
  3. Attitude of health personnel
  4. Attitudes
  5. Attitudes about animals
  6. HABRI Central Briefs
  7. Health
  8. Immunology
  9. Mammals
  10. Mental health and well-being
  11. nursing
  12. Occupational Therapy
  13. Older adults
  14. Pets and companion animals
  15. Social Work