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Theoretical Foundations to the Impact of Dog-Related Activities on Human Hedonic Well-Being, Life Satisfaction and Eudaimonic Well-Being

By A. M. Barcelos, N. Kargas, J. Maltby, S. Hall, P. Assheton, D. S. Mills

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Abstract

Cross-sectional comparisons of well-being between dog owners and non-owners commonly generate inconsistent results. Focusing on the uniqueness of the relationship might help address this issue and provide a stronger foundation for dog-related psychotherapeutic interventions. This study aims to evaluate the impact of dog-related activities (e.g., exercising the dog) on owner hedonic well-being, life satisfaction and eudaimonic well-being. It was also hypothesised that psychological closeness to the dog would affect these well-being outcomes. For this study, 1030 dog owners aged over 18 years old answered an online questionnaire about the impact of 15 groups of dog-related activities on their well-being. Ordinal regressions were used to estimate the mean response (and its uncertainty) for each outcome, while conditioning for psychological closeness to the dog and controlling for several key covariates. Tactile interactions and dog playing were significantly more beneficial than other activities for hedonic well-being, and dog training and dog presence for eudaimonic well-being. In contrast, dog health issues and behavioural problems were linked to decrements in these well-being outcomes. Higher psychological closeness to the dog predicted greater improvement in well-being in positive dog-related activities. Our quantitative study validates the general findings of previous qualitative work and lays the groundwork for future longitudinal studies.

Publication Title Int J Environ Res Public Health
Volume 18
Issue 23
ISBN/ISSN 1661-7827 (Print)1660-4601
DOI 10.3390/ijerph182312382
Author Address School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK.School of Psychology, University of Lincoln, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK.Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK.School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK.Department of Statistics, StatsAdvice.com, Ltd., 10551 Berlin, Germany.
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Dogs
  2. Human-animal interactions
  3. Life experiences
  4. Mental health and well-being
  5. open access
  6. Pet ownership
  7. Well-being
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  1. open access