Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Man's Best Friend: Study Shows Lonely Seniors Prefer Playtime With Pooch Over Human Interaction

Date:
January 9, 2006
Source:
Saint Louis University
Summary:
Nursing home residents felt much less lonely after spending time alone with a dog than they did when they visited with a dog and other people, Saint Louis University research finds.

A new Saint Louis University study shows there is some truth in the old clichι that describes a dog as "man's best friend."

Related Articles


"Or at least a less aggravating friend," said study author William A. Banks, M.D., professor of geriatrics in the department of internal medicine and professor of pharmacological and physiological sciences at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Nursing home residents felt much less lonely after spending time alone with a dog than they did when they visited with a dog and other people. The research will be published in the March 2006 issue of Anthrozoos 18(4).

"It was a strange finding," said Banks, who also is a staff physician at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis. "We had thought that the dog acts as a social lubricant and increases the interaction between the residents. We expected the group dog visits were going to work better, but they didn't.

"The residents found a little quiet time with the pooch is a lot nicer than spending time with a dog and other people," he said.

Thirty-seven nursing home residents who scored high on a loneliness scale said they wanted to receive weekly, 30-minute visits from dogs. Half spent time alone with the dog, and the other half spent time with one to three other nursing home residents and the dog. While both groups felt less lonely, the group that had one-on-one quality time with the dog experienced a much more significant decrease in loneliness after five to six weeks of visits.

The main way pets reduce loneliness in nursing homes is simply by being with people, not by enhancing socialization between people – for instance, giving nursing home residents something to talk about or an experience to share, Banks said.

"There is no need for a dog to be a social lubricant or icebreaker in a nursing home. Residents live with each other, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with each other, play bingo with each other," Banks says. "The study also found that the loneliest individuals benefited the most from visits with dogs."

###

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first M.D. degree west of the Mississippi River. Saint Louis University School of Medicine is a pioneer in geriatric medicine, organ transplantation, chronic disease prevention, cardiovascular disease, neurosciences and vaccine research, among others. The School of Medicine trains physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health services on a local, national and international level.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Louis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Saint Louis University. "Man's Best Friend: Study Shows Lonely Seniors Prefer Playtime With Pooch Over Human Interaction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060108215831.htm>.
Saint Louis University. (2006, January 9). Man's Best Friend: Study Shows Lonely Seniors Prefer Playtime With Pooch Over Human Interaction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060108215831.htm
Saint Louis University. "Man's Best Friend: Study Shows Lonely Seniors Prefer Playtime With Pooch Over Human Interaction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060108215831.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Giant Panda Goes Walkabout in Southwest China

Giant Panda Goes Walkabout in Southwest China

AFP (Mar. 6, 2015) — A giant panda goes walkabout alone at night in southwest China. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lack of Snow Pushes Alaska Sled Dog Race North

Lack of Snow Pushes Alaska Sled Dog Race North

AP (Mar. 6, 2015) — A shortage of snow has forced Alaska&apos;s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to move 300 miles north to Fairbanks. The ceremonial start through downtown Anchorage will take place this weekend, using snow stockpiled earlier this winter. (March 6) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) — A photographer got the shot of a lifetime, or rather an octopus did, when it grabbed the camera and turned it around to take an amazing picture of the photographer. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins