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Depression among pet owners and non-pet owners: a comparative cross-sectional study in Dhaka, Bangladesh

By S. K. Chakma, T. T. Islam, M. Shahjalal, D. K. Mitra

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Background: Depression is a major contributor to overall global disease burden, often beginning in the teenage years and continuing into later life. Previous studies have reported high global rates of depression during these formative years, including in Bangladesh. At the same time, the therapeutic effect that pet ownership can have on depression is increasingly being recognized. However, studies examining these effects in Bangladesh are scarce. This study examined the association between household pet ownership and depression among people older than 13 years in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using online and offline approaches. We used a snowball sampling technique to identify pet owners aged greater than 13 years residing in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Both web-based survey questionnaires using social media and hard copies were used to collect data from urban-dwelling pet owners. Logistic regression was used to identify the independent role of pet ownership in depression, adjusting for confounders including age, sex, marital status, known chronic disabilities, and other variables. Results: A total of 140 pet owners and an equal number of non-pet owners participated in the study. Pet owners were found to be 41% less depressed than non-pet owners (AOR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.31-1.14). In addition, males (AOR: 3.38; 95% CI: 1.50-7.62) who were either unmarried (AOR: 2.10; 95% CI: 1.05-4.16), smoked tobacco (AOR: 5.27; 95% CI: 1.50-18.53), or had a physical disability (AOR: 5.27; 95% CI: 1.50-18.53) were significantly more likely to be depressed. Conclusion: Regression analysis revealed that in Dhaka, pet owners were associated with lower levels of depression compared to non-pet owners. Keywords: Pets and depression, animal-assisted activities, pets and mental health, pets and psychological health.

Date 2021
Publication Title F1000Res
Volume 10
Pages 574
ISBN/ISSN 2046-1402
DOI 10.12688/f1000research.53276.1
Author Address Maternal and Child Health Division, International Centre For Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Dhaka, 1216, Bangladesh.Department of Public Health, North South University, Dhaka, 1229, Bangladesh.Public Health Nutrition, Primeasia University, Dhaka, 1213, Bangladesh.Professor and Chairman, Department of Public Health, North South University, Dhaka, 1229, Bangladesh.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Depression
  3. Mental health and well-being
  4. open access
  5. Psychiatry and psychology
  1. open access