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Dogs Supporting Human Health and Well-Being: A Biopsychosocial Approach

By N. R. Gee, K. E. Rodriguez, A. H. Fine, J. P. Trammell

Category Journal Articles

Humans have long realized that dogs can be helpful, in a number of ways, to achieving important goals. This is evident from our earliest interactions involving the shared goal of avoiding predators and acquiring food, to our more recent inclusion of dogs in a variety of contexts including therapeutic and educational settings. This paper utilizes a longstanding theoretical framework- the biopsychosocial model- to contextualize the existing research on a broad spectrum of settings and populations in which dogs have been included as an adjunct or complementary therapy to improve some aspect of human health and well-being. A wide variety of evidence is considered within key topical areas including cognition, learning disorders, neurotypical and neurodiverse populations, mental and physical health, and disabilities. A dynamic version of the biopsychosocial model is used to organize and discuss the findings, to consider how possible mechanisms of action may impact overall human health and well-being, and to frame and guide future research questions and investigations.

Publication Title Front Vet Sci
Volume 8
Pages 630465
ISBN/ISSN 2297-1769 (Print)2297-1769
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2021.630465
Author Address Department of Psychiatry, Center for Human Animal Interaction, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States.Human-Animal Bond in Colorado, School of Social Work, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States.Department of Education, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA, United States.Division of Social Sciences and Natural Sciences, Seaver College, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA, United States.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Canine
  2. Dogs
  3. Human-animal interactions
  4. Human health
  5. Interests
  6. Mental health and well-being
  7. open access
  1. open access