Does Pet Dog Presence Reduce Human Cardiovascular Responses to Stress?
Authors: Grossberg, John M.; Alf, Jr., Edward F.; Vormbrock, Julia K.
Source: Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 1 March 1988, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 38-44(7)
Abstract:This study tested directly the hypothesis that the mere presence of a person's pet dog produces health benefits by reducing cardiovascular arousal-induced stress. We administered mental arithmetic problems and TAT cards to 32 normotensive dog-owning college students. Half were tested with their dogs present. Dependent measures were heart rate and systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure, recorded continuously. ANOVAs revealed that mental arithmetic and TAT tasks caused significant increases in all cardiovascular measures, with no difference between dog-present and dog-absent groups. In addition, there were no significant correlations among cardiovascular responses, pet attitudes, and Type A status measured by the Jenkins Activity Survey. Although these results were negative, we recommend stronger tests of the stress-reducing effect of pet presence using larger clinically hypertensive samples and an own-control experimental design.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 1988