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Altruism and HealthPerspectives from Empirical Research$
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Stephen G. Post

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182910.001.0001

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Befriending Man's Best Friends: Does Altruism Toward Animals Promote Psychological and Physical Health?

Befriending Man's Best Friends: Does Altruism Toward Animals Promote Psychological and Physical Health?

Chapter:
(p.277) 15 Befriending Man's Best Friends: Does Altruism Toward Animals Promote Psychological and Physical Health?
Source:
Altruism and Health
Author(s):

Marivic Dizon

Lisa D. Butler

Cheryl Koopman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182910.003.0018

In recent decades, researchers in the health and social science fields have begun investigating the psychological and physical health benefits of the human-animal bond, which can be described as a ‘dynamic relationship between people and animals in that each influences the psychological and physiological state of the other’. The strength of the human-animal bond and its positive effects on health and wellness have been demonstrated in a variety of populations, including children, adolescents, the elderly, and the physically and mentally ill. This chapter discusses animal-directed altruism and the origins of the human-animal bond. It provides a brief review of the literature on the effects of pet ownership and attachment, and how befriending animals can promote health and wellness for individuals across the developmental lifespan.

Keywords:   health benefits, human-animal bond, well being, altruism, pet ownership, attachment

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