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Advancing Human-Animal Interaction to Counter Social Isolation and Loneliness in the Time of COVID-19: A Model for an Interdisciplinary Public Health Consortium

By A. M. Hughes, L. Braun, A. Putnam, D. Martinez, A. Fine

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Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The mental and physical human costs of social isolation and loneliness-and their possible amelioration through human-animal interaction (HAI)-have both received intense attention since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its lockdowns, quarantines, and related mitigation measures. Concern about society's "loneliness epidemic", however, predates the pandemic, as does serious inquiry into HAI as a positive intervention. Recognizing the potential of companion animals to make a difference on an important public health issue, the Consortium on Social Isolation and Companion Animals-a novel partnership of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Mars Petcare-launched a joint initiative in 2019 to advance HAI research, address barriers to HAI, and support best practices in bringing together animals and people to ease loneliness. Beginning with a first-ever summit of multidisciplinary thought leaders, this collaboration has already yielded actionable insights and research projects. As a novel partnership initiative in the HAI field, it offers a promising model for future cross-disciplinary forward thinking to elevate HAI for the mutual benefit of companion animals and their welfare, as well as vulnerable human populations.

Date 2021
Publication Title Animals (Basel)
Volume 11
Issue 8
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615 (Print)2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani11082325
Author Address Mars Petcare, 18101 SE 6 Way, Vancouver, WA 98683, USA.Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), 1310 L St, NW, Suite 860, Washington, DC 20005, USA.Humane Rescue Alliance, 71 Oglethorpe St NW, Washington, DC 20011, USA.Department of Education, College of Education and Integrative Studies, California Polytechnic State University Pomona, 3801 W. Temple Ave, Pomona, CA 91768, USA.
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Covid-19
  2. Human-animal bond
  3. Human-animal interactions
  4. Loneliness
  5. open access
  6. Social Isolation
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  1. open access