Companion Animals On A College Student's Well Being

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Introduction

The well-known saying, “A dog is man’s best friend” implies that there is a common belief that pet ownership improves our overall well-being (Peacock, Hansen, & Winefield, 2012). However, Chur-Hansen and Winefield’s 2005 study resulted in contradictory findings that show there is no direct relationship between companion animals and increased well-being (as cited in Peacock et al., 2012). Garrity, Stallones, Marx, & Johnson’s 1989 study concluded that companion animals positively affect an individual 's mental health by decreasing feelings of loneliness and depression, Kidd and Kidd’s 1999 findings show lowered levels of stress in pet owners, and finally, Wells suggests that companion animals increase self-worth and self-esteem (as cited in Peacock et al., 2012). The following study analyzes the impact companion animals has on a college student’s well-being. Taking into account that suicide and depression are increasingly prevalent on college campuses nationwide (Furr, Westefeld, McConnell, & Jenkins, 2001), researching the dynamics of the animal-human bond and whether or not it can improve the psychological and physical health of stressed college students is important. Previous research on the relationship between companion animals and well-being has resulted in varying and conflicting conclusions. The following studies demonstrate this problem and explain the possible causes for inconsistent results. As Peacock states, a reason for inconsistent results among

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