Return confinement may be synonymous with depression. But according to a British study, our pets are a support for our mental health.
by the editorial staff
This confinement, season 2, scares you? Are you worried about disorders that will affect your mental health? STOP! You have the best remedies near you to live this period as well as possible. What is he? It is your faithful four-legged companion. Published in the journal Plos One on September 25, 2020, a study from the University of York (UK), by Dr Ratschen and his team, revealed the benefits of having a pet in your home.
Between March 23, 2020 and June 1, the researchers based their research on confinement in the United Kingdom, thanks to a panel of 5,926 residents over the age of 18. A questionnaire made it possible to measure the mental health, well-being and loneliness of the people questioned, all linked to interactions with an animal. 90% of the participants had at least one pet, often a dog or a cat, but also small mammals and fish. The majority responded that the company of these furballs, or not, was a great emotional help:
-87% said their pets helped them cope with the Covid situation.
-95% of respondents said they agree with the statement « I can’t imagine myself without my pet right now ».
Goodbye loneliness, but be careful
This appeasement would be more present in a relationship with a dog or a cat. But other species can reduce stress too. For study specialists, having an animal was linked to smaller increases in feelings of loneliness during confinement. Flocon or even Félix would therefore help to attenuate certain harmful psychological effects due to confinement. However, the analysis also states that the animals were a cause for concern for their owners. Why ? At the time, they worried about their animal in the face of restrictions on access to veterinary care or physical activities. In France, with this 2nd confinement, veterinary care establishments remain open, know it. But beware, the study advises against acquiring an animal only for its mental comfort. You have to adopt an animal in the best conditions and know the commitments that lie ahead. Adoption must be responsible! « While our study has shown that having a pet can alleviate some of the damaging psychological effects of Covid-19-related confinement, it is important to understand that this finding […] and does not support any suggestion that people should acquire pets to protect their mental health during the pandemic, » explains the study, a quote relayed by Maxisciences. On October 13 in Psychology Today, Professor Hal Herzog commented on the analysis. He calls on all people to think carefully before adopting an animal, especially during times of crisis. For him, it is important to keep in mind that an animal involves constraints, such as veterinary care. « Several studies have shown that being very attached to pets is associated with more mental health problems. Dr Ratschen and his team also found this to be the case. In their study, the scores of The mental health of very attached pet owners was significantly lower than that of less attached pet owners « , adds Prof. Hal Herzog.
In conclusion for researchers, « The human-animal bond is a construct that may be linked to the vulnerability of the mental health of pet owners. The strength of the human-animal bond in terms of emotional closeness or dimensions of intimacy seems be independent of the animal species. Possession of animals appears to mitigate some of the harmful psychological effects of containment of Covid-19. There is a need for further targeted study of the role of human-human relationships and interactions. ‘animal for human health, in particular by testing the hypothesis of a social buffer and by developing instruments suitable for all animal species. «