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Stress

Pets More Effective than People When it comes to Beating Stress

19 years, 3 months ago

5694  0
Posted on Oct 03, 2002, 7 a.m. By Bill Freeman

When it comes to beating stress stroking your dog may be more beneficial than pouring your heart out to friends, partners, or counsellors. Researchers at the University of New York at Buffalo studied how 240 volunteers - half of whom owned a dog or cat - responded to two stress-inducing situations - mental arithmetic and plunging their hand into ice cold water.

When it comes to beating stress stroking your dog may be more beneficial than pouring your heart out to friends, partners, or counsellors. Researchers at the University of New York at Buffalo studied how 240 volunteers - half of whom owned a dog or cat - responded to two stress-inducing situations - mental arithmetic and plunging their hand into ice cold water. Results showed that pet owners had lower resting heart rates and blood pressure than those without a cat or dog. Furthermore, they exhibited a lesser response to the stressful tasks and their heart rates and blood pressure returned to normal more quickly than those whose performed the tasks in the company of friends or spouses. Study leader Dr Karen Allen, said: "While the idea of a pet as social support may appear to some as a peculiar notion, our participants' responses to stress, combined with their descriptions of the meaning of pets in their lives, suggest to us that social support can indeed cross species."

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Psychosomatic Medicine 2002; 64: 727-739

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