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Owners’ Attitudes toward Their Companion Dogs Are Associated with the Owners’ Depression Symptoms—An Exploratory Study in South Korea

1
Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
2
Research Institute for Veterinary Science and College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
3
Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3567; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193567
Received: 13 August 2019 / Revised: 21 September 2019 / Accepted: 23 September 2019 / Published: 24 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Mental Health)
Background: Various health benefits from the ownership of companion dogs have been studied from a One Health perspective. However, the preventive effects on depression are unclear, with inconsistent results across studies. We hypothesized that heterogeneity among owners would be related to the mixed results. Specifically, the difference in the strength of the bond between the owners and their companion dogs would modify the effect of dog ownership. As an exploratory study, we compared the depression symptoms of the owners with favorable attitudes toward their dogs, with those of the owners with unfavorable attitudes, to investigate the potential effect modification of owners’ attitudes on the association between the ownership and depression symptom. Methods: We conducted a web-based questionnaire survey of 654 19- to 39-year-old adults who had companion dogs in Seoul, South Korea, where a major health burden is depression among young adults. We measured the owners’ attitudes toward their dogs using the modified Pet Attitude Scale (PAS-M) and their depression symptoms using the short version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies depression scale (CESD-10). Demographic and socioeconomic factors were measured to adjust for the association between attitude and depression symptoms. Multivariate logistic regression models were used in this study. Results: The owners who had less favorable attitudes toward their dogs (lower PAS-M scores) tended to have depression symptoms. The direction and significance were maintained either when the PAS-M variable was used as a continuous variable (odds ratio (OR) for one score increase in PAS-M was 0.95 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.94–0.96)) or as a categorical variable (OR for lower PAS-M was 3.19 (95% CI = 2.28 –4.47)). Conclusion: We found a positive significant association between owners’ depression symptoms and unfavorable attitudes toward their dogs, although causal direction could not be determined. Future studies should investigate the potential causal link. View Full-Text
Keywords: Zooeyia; modified Pet Attitude Scale; companion dogs; depression Zooeyia; modified Pet Attitude Scale; companion dogs; depression
MDPI and ACS Style

Min, K.-D.; Kim, W.-H.; Cho, S.; Cho, S.-i. Owners’ Attitudes toward Their Companion Dogs Are Associated with the Owners’ Depression Symptoms—An Exploratory Study in South Korea. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3567. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193567

AMA Style

Min K-D, Kim W-H, Cho S, Cho S-i. Owners’ Attitudes toward Their Companion Dogs Are Associated with the Owners’ Depression Symptoms—An Exploratory Study in South Korea. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(19):3567. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193567

Chicago/Turabian Style

Min, Kyung-Duk, Woo-Hyun Kim, Seongbeom Cho, and Sung-il Cho. 2019. "Owners’ Attitudes toward Their Companion Dogs Are Associated with the Owners’ Depression Symptoms—An Exploratory Study in South Korea" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16, no. 19: 3567. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193567

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