Subjective Happiness after Living a Traumatic Event in People with and without Companion Animals
Keywords:traumatic event, post-traumatic stress, happiness, human-animal bond
The interaction with companion animals has been effective in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the experience of a traumatic event; although research about differences in positive aspects between pet owners and non-pet owners have shown heterogeneous results. Thus, the objective of the study was to compare subjective happiness perceived between pet owners and non-owners, who had lived a traumatic event at some point in the last three years. Ninety-eight people residing in Mexico, recruited through a non-probabilistic sampling, participated. Half of them had dogs or cats when the event happened and 49 did not have it. Age mean was 31.4 years (SD = 9.3), 65.3 % women and 34.7 % men. The main result indicates that those who had companion animals at the time of the event are currently considered themselves happier than those who did not. Likewise, a positive and significant correlation was found between happiness and people's perception of the relationship with the companion animal. It is concluded that companion animals could help people achieve personal growth after a traumatic or stressful event.
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