Walking the dog: the effect of pet ownership on human health and health behaviors

Update item information
Publication Type pre-print
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Sociology
Creator Utz, Rebecca L.
Title Walking the dog: the effect of pet ownership on human health and health behaviors
Date 2014-01-01
Description This analysis explores whether pet owners have better physical health outcomes, and if so, whether the positive physical health benefits are explained by better health behaviors that result from having to take care of the pet's physical needs. Data come from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a representative sample of the non-institutionalized United States population. Analyses were limited to persons living alone (n=2474) in order to isolate primary pet caretakers from those merely living in a pet household. Results showed that pet owners, particularly dog and cat owners, had more positive physical health outcomes when compared to non pet owners or those owning other types of pets. Surprisingly, the effect of pet ownership was not mediated by health behaviors such as recreational walking. However, the health benefits of pet ownership were largely reduced once sociodemographic variables such as age, socioeconomic status, and residential location were controlled. The positive health effects of pet ownership appear to be primarily the result of selection, not increased physical activity associated with the active caretaking of pets.
Type Text
Publisher Springer
Volume 116
Issue 2
First Page 327
Last Page 339
Language eng
Bibliographic Citation Utz, R. L. (2014). Walking the dog: the effect of pet ownership on human health and health behaviors. Social Indicators Research, 116(2),327-39.
Rights Management (c) Springer (The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com)
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 1,054,241 bytes
Identifier uspace,18504
ARK ark:/87278/s6v15dvp
Setname ir_uspace
Date Created 2014-04-11
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 712277
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6v15dvp
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