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Article

The Influence of Companion Animals on Quality of Life of Gay and Bisexual Men Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

1
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA
2
Malecare Cancer Support, New York, NY 10001, USA
3
Department of Writing Studies, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA
4
Department of Family Medicine and community Health, Program of Human Sexuality, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4457; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224457
Received: 26 September 2019 / Revised: 5 November 2019 / Accepted: 11 November 2019 / Published: 13 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psycho-Social Impact of Human-Animal Interactions)
There has been almost no research on associations of companion animals with quality of life in sexual minorities. Because gay and bisexual men have less social support than their heterosexual peers, some have argued that pet companionship could provide emotional support, while others have argued the opposite, that having a pet is another stressor. This analysis examines the association between having dogs, cats, both animals, or no animals and quality of life using the 12-item Short Form (SF-12) mental and physical composite quality of life scores for gay and bisexual prostate cancer survivors, post-treatment. Participants were 189 gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, who completed online surveys in 2015. Linear regression analysis found that participants with cats and participants with dogs had lower mental quality of life scores than participants without pets. After adjustment for covariates, mental health scores remained significantly lower for cat owners, dog owners, and owners of both animals compared to those of participants who did not have pets. No differences were seen for physical quality of life scores after adjustment. We conclude that pet companionship may be a net stressor for gay and bisexual men following prostate cancer treatment. As this is the first study of pet companionship in sexual minorities, further research is needed to confirm the reliability of these findings, generalizability, and temporality of the association. View Full-Text
Keywords: health benefits; psychological benefits; pet companionship; cancer; prostate; sexual minorities health benefits; psychological benefits; pet companionship; cancer; prostate; sexual minorities
MDPI and ACS Style

Wright, M.M.; Schreiner, P.; Rosser, B.R.S.; Polter, E.J.; Mitteldorf, D.; West, W.; Ross, M.W. The Influence of Companion Animals on Quality of Life of Gay and Bisexual Men Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4457. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224457

AMA Style

Wright MM, Schreiner P, Rosser BRS, Polter EJ, Mitteldorf D, West W, Ross MW. The Influence of Companion Animals on Quality of Life of Gay and Bisexual Men Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(22):4457. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224457

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wright, Morgan M.; Schreiner, Pamela; Rosser, B. R.S.; Polter, Elizabeth J.; Mitteldorf, Darryl; West, William; Ross, Michael W. 2019. "The Influence of Companion Animals on Quality of Life of Gay and Bisexual Men Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 22: 4457. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224457

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