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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 14, Issue 3 (March 2017)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) There has been little examination of the effects that pets may have on the development of youths. [...] Read more. There has been little examination of the effects that pets may have on the development of youths. As childhood and adolescence are important developmental phases which influence health and well-being across the life span, it is important to know whether pet ownership during these time periods exerts positive effects on development. Theoretical plausible explanations on how pets may positively affect child development include the social buffer effect which increases social interaction and social support, and therefore may improve emotional health. Other possible explanations include honed executive functions from pet interaction and pet care which may result in enhanced cognitive abilities and behaviour. Currently, as the field is in the early stages, the impact (if any) of owning companion animals on the emotional, behavioural, cognitive and social development of children and adolescents is unknown. View this paper