In order to establish the effects of owning pets on the health and general well being of human beings, a prospective study will be carried out for a period of 12 months to investigate the characteristic changes in behavior and physical condition or status in a 100 adult individuals (participants/subjects) subsequent to them acquiring a new pet for instance a cat or a dog. A parallel control or standard consisting of 30 individuals without pets will also be done concurrently for the reason of making comparison. Based on the hypothesis, the group is expected not to record any imperative changes in the way of life of health status.
The hypothesis ‘Pet Ownership has a Long Term Positive Effect on Human Health’ will be ascertained and compared with preceding cases of study. Previous studies of the same type have shown that in many occasions both groups (pet owners and non pet owning) will have reduced cases of minor health troubles in the initial months after acquiring the pets, the dog owners had a long lasting effect as compared to cat owners possibly because of dog walking exercise. Introduction The evidence of positive impact of human health due to pet ownership is very insufficient in spite of the publicity the topic has been receiving in the past years.
Several research outcomes have indicated that there is transient reduction in the blood pressure and/or the general heart rate in the participants who owned pets (fish pets in aquarium included), however most of the results do not give evidence of long term benefits in the physiological evaluation as being the outcome of owning a pet. The few resources that are available to show that patients with coronary heart disease experienced a sustained benefit by keeping pets have been criticized and not replication of same material have been made.
The outcomes of the cross sectional assessment of the pet owning and non pet owning groups indicated that the relation is vague as some statistics did not show any apparent relationship between the health status and pet ownership. On the other hand, some studies have produced some fascinating outcomes which are complicated and that the clear understanding cannot be deduced from them. Some indicate that if an individual is intimately attached to the pet he or she owns, then this could revolutionize the impact of distressing events like bereavement and has a benefit on specific anxiety and depression indicators.
Problem Statement The long term benefits of animal pets to human health have been testified for quite sometime but the scientific evidence to connect the two has not been clearly established. To establish this theory, a research has to be carried out using scientific methodology and analysis made to quantify the outcomes. Though it there is no need for a scientific study for those who own pets to realize the health improvements related to pets with their pets, there is some scientific evidence of such contention, PFMA (1990).
The variable of the research would be the human health and pet ownership, the latter being an independent variable while the health improvement is dependent variable. Literature Review The issue of health benefit from animal companions has come up strongly and it is receiving some attention compared to the past decade hence it has stimulated a lot of scientific interests into confirming the claim by use of scientific methodology, though previous studies have had contradictory results (Jong 2007).
The results are basically because of the complicatedness in separating the impact that is considered a direct consequence of pet ownership and other socioeconomic activities or other ways of life. Most of the research outcomes have reported that the relationship between individuals and their pets appear to have a significant psychological and physiological effect (Gress 2003). A research carried out in 1992 revealed that there was significant reduction in the risk factors for coronary heart disease (i.
e. cholesterol, blood pressure, plasma triglycerides) in people who owned pets compared to those who did not given that other socio economic factor, body mass and lifestyle were equivalent (Geisler 2004). Another similar research was conducted in 2002 to investigate the physiological reaction to mental problems and pain in individual who kept pets and those who did not, the experiment also included those who had friends and spouses and those who did not (Wells & Perrine 2001).
The research indicated that; In relation to individuals who owned pets, had friends and spouses, experienced reduced heart rates and hypertension both at rest and during activity compared to their counterparts who did not; the stress stimulated the lowest physiological reaction in the presence of pets during the time of study plus several other positive changes had been observed.
Research revealed that those individuals who owned pets were more likely to exercise a lot especially dog pets and as such they were associated with very limited case of sickness and the were socially active most of the time hence appeared lively (Jong 2007). It has also been observed that pets help people to rise above the feeling of nervousness, develop trust and augment social knowledge and tactic to deal with sickness.
Captivatingly, another study carried out id the year 2001 revealed that even at workplaces individuals could benefit in terms of their psychological health and also organization of their duties from animal pets (Wells & Perrine 2001). In the same study, the individuals who were allowed to take their pets to the work place professed a decrease in stress levels and realized positive impact on their health and generally good organization as compared to those who did not carry their pets to the job.
With the notable increase in the elderly population, the concern to provide better wellbeing for the old people in the society also rises. Basically the old people are the ones who need such kind of therapy (using animal companion) because they are more vulnerable to suffer loneliness since the young family members could be out carrying out others activities like work or attending to some business. Most of the old people are likely to be widowed and their health is also expected to be in poor condition due to the natural process of aging.
The statistics from the United States Medicare (an organization to cover health expenses for the old) in 1990 analyzed the cases of about 938 individuals who were admitted that year. The outcome as expected showed that out of the total people enrolled, those who owned pets recorded the least number of visits to the doctors and that the ability to deal with the stressful life hassles also improved (Allen et al 2002). Another study carried out in 1998, over 1000 elderly individuals of over 65 years of age. The order was also intended to evaluate the impact of human health and character change.
The study assessed the possible effects of human animal bong on the participant physiological changes, psychological and physical health and whether the ownership of pets or non pet ownership modified the health (Geisler 2004). Standardized analysis methods were used to evaluate the level of affection to pets (those owning pets), physical ability (daily living actions) and psychological or societal association status. The investigator discovered that the daily life activities were sustained and improved and that the benefits on social support networks and emotional welfare of those who own the pet compared to the non pet owners (Jong 2007).
Further studies back the thought that pet ownership can improve the physical behavior of the old people and give comfort, reduce lonesomeness and stress in addition to serving as peripheral center of concentration. There are several pet rearing in nursing homes and have been associated with reduced psychological medication use and more than 50% drop in the medical care expense, additionally, pets assist in cutting down depression among the patients. Pets have been found to be able to reduce loneliness and stress whereas promoting interest in life.
In the event of an attack of trauma or adversity, those who own pets fare on well than those devoid of unconditional bond from pets. The love from pets gives a sense of security which can alleviate the strain of depression, Center for Veterinary Medicine (2004). Still there is some scientific controversy concerning the health of human beings and benefits of pet companionship, many of the research findings give support to the advantageous impact of pets. Due to these results, many of the therapies in the effort to treat some medical conditions have embraced the use of animals and also use of counselors, friends, confidants and educators.
It is obvious that whether the impact is psychological, physiological, and physical or combination of many factors, the results from these researches indicate that there could be a relationship between animal (specifically pets) and human health that has been probably intuitively acknowledged that love heals. Science also asserts that human beings are healthy and happier when they are surrounded by friends and family and in the same way; animals benefit people in the same manner. Ethics and Conduct Research
There are several controversial issues expected to crop up during the research for instance the difficulty in ascertaining that the positive effect would be because of the pet companion and not the medication or other social changes like improved lifestyle during the study. Some participants may perceive that they are supposed to report improvement and hence report it when actually it is not the situation on the ground. Interactions of other factors that improve life are not able to be totally kept out of the experiment like family and friends (Allen et al 2002).
Keeping friends and family members out of this experiment is very difficult and also attempting to harmonize the lifestyle of the participants would a hard task as most of the activities aerie entrenched in their daily life activities. In an attempt to reduce such interference, the participants will be sampled according to the way of life determined by where they live so as to make sure that lifestyle is not so much of a variable and that the time spent with friends will be regulated so that it is equal and does not interfere with the final results. Design and Procedure
The subjects will be selected at random; both dog and cat owners (63 dog owners and 37 cat owners) and the control experiment will have 30 subjects who do not own pets. Most of the participants will be those who are acquiring new pets, those who previously owned pets will be excluded. A matching sample with members will be done but with participants who do not own pets and this will be done by word of mouth. The subject will be interviewed in their places of residence and self report questionnaires issued and will be filled on acquisition of the new pet.
The questionnaires will be designed to avoid ambiguity by clarifying the questions as possible. The participants will be expected to fill an item questionnaire of general health. A psychological screening test will be used to analyze psychological constituent of subjects and the outcome will be scored on Likert scale. A 40 culture free self esteem inventory will be filled and it consists of the following subscales; personal self esteem, social self-esteem, general self esteem and defensive subscale. Discussion The outcomes are expected to be correct based on the accuracy of the collection and analysis of the results.
The results will evaluate in terms of the relationship between pet ownership and human health. The ownership of pets will be an independent variable while the change in human health will be the dependent variable. The following feature of therapy will be discussed; Novelty: this will address the reason why impact of ownership is high initially and why it would persist for sometime. Placebo effect: this will explain the reason why there is improvement though there is no enough supporting evidence for this in previous studies (Gress 2003). There is some considerable amount of coverage by media and this may affect the results.
Companion: this will address whether animal companionship actually gives the support. Social catalyst: having animal company could be a stimulant to psychology of humans making them more sociable and this will have to be determined under this subtopic after the research, PFMA (1990). Conclusion Current results from research have indicated that there is growing recognition and appreciation of the positive impact pets would have on the health and general wellbeing of individuals. The visible changes include improved moody feeling, Sense of self esteem, confidence, faith and hope.
Basically being is the correct mood and having a positive attitude is what held to create the feeling of wellness. References Allen K. Blascovich J. & Mendes. W (2002). Cardiovascular reactivity and the presence of pets, friends, and spouses. The truth about cats and dogs. Psychosom. Med. 2002 Center for Veterinary Medicine (2004). Pet therapy is now utilized increasingly as physicians are recognizing the positive effects in treating human patients with the therapeutic use of animals. Food and Drug administration. Retrieved from http://www. fda.
gov/ohrms/DOCKETS/dockets/06p0415/06p-0415-cp00001-40-FDA-Vet-Newsltr-vol1. pdf Geisler A. M. (2004). Companion animals in palliative care: stories from the bedside. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2004 Gress K. (2003). Animals helping people. People helping animals. Interview by Shirley A. Smoyak. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. Jong M (2007) Benefits of Pets. Calvary-Herald Newspaper PFMA (1990). Profile 1990. Pet Food Manufacturers’Association. London. Wells, M. & R. Perrine. (2001). Critters in the cube farm. Perceived psychological and organizational effects of pets in the workplace. J. Occup Health Psychol. 2001