Studies in the field of human-animal interaction tend to highlight the positive results of the influence of animals on humans, which supports the popular belief that the human-animal bond positively affects humans' well-being ("pet-effect"). Nevertheless, contradictory results exist that seem especially visible since the COVID-19 pandemic, a prominent external stressor. Despite critical findings, individuals seem to want to believe in the beneficial effects of the human-animal relationship ("pet-effect paradox"). Based on this background, the present study aims to investigate this phenomenon using a mixed-method design. Therefore, animal caregivers were surveyed online and compared using psychometric measurements and open-ended questions. In this context, a special focus was placed on the additional stressor of Long-Covid and related concerns. The results demonstrate once more the existence of the "pet-effect paradox" due to a contradiction in the quantitative and qualitative results. At a quantitative level, the findings show additional burdens on animal caregivers who are confronted with multiple loads. However, the qualitative results indicate a belief in the beneficial effects of pets at the biopsychosocial level. Additionally, the data demonstrate a shift in focus away from the environment to oneself when affected by Long-Covid, which might affect the ability to care for an animal.
|Publication Title||Animals (Basel)|
|Author Address||Psychological Outpatient Clinic, Sigmund Freud University Vienna, 1020 Vienna, Austria.Faculty of Psychology, Sigmund Freud University Vienna, 1020 Vienna, Austria.|
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