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."

"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 September 17, 2014 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 September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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