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Evaluating the Relationship between Well-Being and Living with a Dog for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Feasibility Study

1
Faculty of Nursing, Professional Faculties Building, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
2
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
3
Department of Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, 2-50 Corbett Hall, 8205 114St., Edmonton, AB T6G 2G4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(8), 1472; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081472
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psycho-Social Impact of Human-Animal Interactions)
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Abstract

Chronic low back pain is a significant societal and personal burden that negatively impacts quality of life. Dog ownership has been associated with health benefits. This study evaluated the feasibility of surveying people with chronic low back pain to assess the relationship between dog ownership and well-being. A mail-out survey was sent to 210 adult patients with chronic low back pain. Measures of quality of life, pain, physical activity, emotional health, social ties and dog ownership were included. Feasibility was assessed by examining survey response rate, responses to established and newly developed measures, and the potential relationships between dog ownership and a number of key well-being variables in this patient population. There were 56 completed surveys returned (n = 36 non-dog owners and n = 20 dog owners). Established, adapted and newly developed scales revealed promising results. Dog owners reported fewer depression and anxiety symptoms, and more social ties than non-dog owners. Living with a dog may be associated with improved well-being for people with chronic pain. The findings from this feasibility study will inform a general population survey, to be conducted with a larger, more representative sample of people living with chronic pain. View Full-Text
Keywords: chronic pain; well-being; depression; physical activity; dog ownership chronic pain; well-being; depression; physical activity; dog ownership
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Carr, E.C.; Wallace, J.E.; Pater, R.; Gross, D.P. Evaluating the Relationship between Well-Being and Living with a Dog for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Feasibility Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1472.

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