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A recent study conducted by researchers at the Azabu University in Kanagawa, Japan shows that female dog and cat owners tend to be a bit more involved in their families, resulting to a healthier life.
The study, which was originally published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, found that dogs and cats play a crucial role in increasing interactions with family and the local community during late adolescence.
It is because during late adolescence to early adulthood, a person undergoes a series of big changes. Furthermore, it is during this period when health issues arise, especially mental health disorders.
In addition to these, late adolescence is a period where an individual’s values and beliefs have a huge impact in their well-being as adults.
“These findings suggested that an individual’s personality and health status had long-term effects on their overall well-being,” the researchers from Azabu University wrote.
The researchers also revealed that low mental health among adolescent in Japan is a serious concern. So, explaining factors that can increase their well-being can help address such issue.
The researchers wrote, “We hypothesized that pet ownership would increase involvement with family and the local community and thereby impact adolescents’ personalities and well-being.”
Data was collected through a survey conducted with 2,845 high school and university students as the participants. Among the participants, 753 were men and 2,092 were women.
The participants provided data about their basic attributes, family composition, and pet ownership.
The researchers used a statistical model to examine the relationship between these various factors in the study. And the model suggested that owning a dog or cat increases family involvement, that leads to better well-being. And the results of the study proved this to be true for females, but not for males.
Furthermore, the model also suggests that family involvement was associated with greater well-being, but greater community involvement was linked to higher general trust.
The researchers concluded that, “This study revealed that late adolescent women who owned a dog or cat had high involvement with their family, which resulted in higher well-being. However, no significant effects were observed among men.”