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Pet Ownership and Children’s Emotional Expression: Propensity Score-Matched Analysis of Longitudinal Data from Japan

1
Department of Global Health Promotion, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan
2
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston 02115, MA, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(5), 758; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050758
Received: 18 December 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2019 / Accepted: 23 February 2019 / Published: 2 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Children's Health)
With many children and young adolescents reporting strong emotional bonds with their pets, the impact of pet ownership on child/adolescent health—especially on their emotional development—has garnered increasing scientific interest. We examined the association between pet ownership in toddlerhood (age 3.5 years) and poor emotional expression in later childhood (age 5.5 years) using propensity score matching within a longitudinal cohort dataset from Japan (n = 31,453). A propensity score for pet ownership was calculated by logistic models based on a comprehensive list of each child’s observed characteristics, including sex, household income, parental education, mother’s employment status, residential environment, number of siblings, and living arrangement. Log-binomial regression analyses using matched samples revealed that children who owned pets during the toddler years were 6% less likely to have a poor emotional expression in later childhood (prevalence ratio = 0.94, 95% confidence interval = 0.90–0.99) compared to those without pets. This suggests that owning pets may provide children with opportunities to control their emotions, and lead to a lower prevalence of poor emotional expression. Pet ownership in toddlerhood may contribute to the development of expression. View Full-Text
Keywords: Pet ownership; child development; emotional regulation; Japan; propensity score matching Pet ownership; child development; emotional regulation; Japan; propensity score matching
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sato, R.; Fujiwara, T.; Kino, S.; Nawa, N.; Kawachi, I. Pet Ownership and Children’s Emotional Expression: Propensity Score-Matched Analysis of Longitudinal Data from Japan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 758. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050758

AMA Style

Sato R, Fujiwara T, Kino S, Nawa N, Kawachi I. Pet Ownership and Children’s Emotional Expression: Propensity Score-Matched Analysis of Longitudinal Data from Japan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(5):758. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050758

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sato, Rikako, Takeo Fujiwara, Shiho Kino, Nobutoshi Nawa, and Ichiro Kawachi. 2019. "Pet Ownership and Children’s Emotional Expression: Propensity Score-Matched Analysis of Longitudinal Data from Japan" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16, no. 5: 758. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050758

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