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Depression in older cat and dog owners: The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT)-3
Department of Health Sciences, Nord-Trøndelag University College, Steinkjer, Norway; Center for Care Research, Steinkjer, Norway.
Department of Health Sciences, Nord-Trøndelag University College, Steinkjer, Norway; Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.
Department of Agriculture and Information Technology, Nord-Trøndelag University College, Steinkjer, Norway.
Department of Clinical Medicine, Vivarium-Haukeland sykehus, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; Norway/Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Steinkjer, Norway.
2015 (English)In: Aging & Mental Health, ISSN 1360-7863, E-ISSN 1364-6915, Vol. 19, no 4, 347-352 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: Depression constitutes a major health problem for older people, in this study defined as people 65 years of age and older. Previous studies have shown that mental health among older people who live with animals could be improved, but contrary results exist as well. Therefore, the objective of the present population study was to compare the self-rated depression symptoms of both female and male non-pet owners, cat owners, and dog owners.

Method: The participants in this cross-sectional population study included 12,093 people between the ages of 65 and 101. One thousand and eighty three participants owned cats and 814 participants owned dogs. Self-rated depression symptoms were measured using HADS-D, the scale of self-administered depression symptoms in HADS (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale).

Results: The main results showed higher mean values on the HADS-D for cat owners than for both dog and non-pet owners. The latter group rated their depression symptoms the lowest. When dividing the ratings into low- and high-depression symptoms, the logistic regression analysis showed that it was more likely that males who owned cats perceived lower depression symptoms than females who owned cats. No interactions were recognized between pet ownership and subjective general health status, loneliness, or marital status.

Conclusions: Our results provide a window into the differences in health factors between older females and males who own cats and dogs in rural areas. Results from population studies like ours might increase the available knowledge base when using cats and dogs in clinical environments such as nursing homes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor and Francis Ltd. , 2015. Vol. 19, no 4, 347-352 p.
Keyword [en]
depression, quantitative methods and statistics, pet ownership, older people
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25037DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2014.933310ISI: 000348311900006PubMedID: 24990174Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84931065779OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-25037DiVA: diva2:1134752
Available from: 2017-08-21 Created: 2017-08-21 Last updated: 2017-08-21Bibliographically approved

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