MPH (Master of Public Health)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Mary Ann Littleton
Tiejian Wu, Brunhilde Tober-Meyer
This cross-sectional study explored the relationship between pet ownership, attachment, and psychological health among community-dwelling senior citizens and evaluated the impact of the placement of an aquarium into a regional senior center. General health, depression, social support, pet attitudes, pet attachment, pet relationships, and attitudes about the aquarium were assessed among 104 members of a senior center.
Symptoms of depression were identified in 17.3% of the participants. Pets were a significant form of social support and attachment to pet owners. No significant relationship was observed between pet ownership, pet attachment, and psychological health. Positive health effects were reported among participants who observed the fish aquarium.
While the relationship between pet ownership, human-animal interactions, and psychological well-being remains unclear, it appears that older adults can benefit from animal-assisted activities and therapy programs. Animal-assisted activities and therapy programs may be useful adjunctive therapies for depression in community-dwelling senior citizens.
Thesis - Open Access
Southerland, E. Marie, "A Study of the Effects of Pet Ownership on Mental Health among Community-Dwelling Senior Citizens in Northeast Tennessee." (2007). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 2046. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/2046
Copyright by the authors.