Research confirms that the owner's loneliness is resolved when starting a dog
Humans have lived with dogs for tens of thousands of years, and many people who own dogs claim that the dog feels lonely and feels happy. A research team at the University of Sydney conducted a study comparing 'people who started new dogs with people who don't have dogs' to see if dogs really improve people's mental health. It was.
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Dogs really can chase away loneliness
In Australia, 40% of households are said to have dogs, and most owners feel they are happy. On the other hand, this claim lacks scientific evidence, says Lauren Powell and his colleagues at the University of Sydney PhD.
According to Powell, past studies examining the impact of dogs on human mental health have mostly assessed the mental health of 'dog owners and people who do not own dogs' at a particular point in time. It was. However, Powell pointed out that this method really helps to relieve the feeling of loneliness by starting to keep a dog and whether it will be happy. Also, in the first place, the possibility that “the person who wants to keep the dog is mentally healthy” cannot be excluded, and it is not always possible to take up past research, and “the dog will relieve human loneliness and improve mental health. It cannot be said.
Therefore, the research team of Mr. Powell et al., The subject's mentality at three timings, `` before keeping the dog '', `` when 3 months have passed since starting the dog '', `` when 8 months have passed since starting the dog '' Conducted an experiment to measure mental health.
The research team categorized 71 adults living in Sydney as `` a group that wants to keep a dog and starts keeping a dog within one month from the start of the experiment '' `` I want to keep a dog, but until the end of the experiment period The group was divided into three groups: a group that agreed not to keep dogs and a group that was not interested in keeping dogs. And at the beginning of the experiment when all the dogs still do not have dogs, 3 months after the start of the experiment where only the dog group has the dogs, and 8 months after the start of the experiments, mood, loneliness, psychology We evaluated the distress.
A comparison of mental health at each time point revealed that the group that started a new dog had less loneliness after starting the dog compared to the other two groups. This effect appeared within 3 months after starting the dog and lasted until 8 months after the experiment was completed.
On the other hand, the group that started to have dogs tended to have less negative emotions such as tension and pain, but this point was not significantly different. In addition, Powell said that there was no improvement in symptoms such as depression and anxiety disorders, but in our experiment, the people in the group who own dogs already had psychological distress before The level was low. ”This may have influenced the results.
In this experiment, it was suggested that keeping a dog relieves loneliness, and past studies have shown that snuggling with a dog improves mood in the short term. Powell also points out that dog owners are more likely to talk to strangers through their dogs during walks, which may reduce loneliness. In fact, the subjects who had dogs in this experiment also said that they talked to neighbors that they had never known because of the dogs.
Although it was confirmed in this experiment that loneliness was reduced by keeping a dog, it seems that only women were accidentally starting to keep dogs in the experiment. So Powell admits that dogs can affect men's mental health in different ways than women. In a future step, Mr. Powell said he would like to investigate the impact of starting a dog on a person, targeting more subjects to confirm this discovery.