Anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorder which affects many people in the world. Children also equally vulnerable to the anxiety disorder which affects their mental well-being putting stress on their academic performance.
In a recent study published in CDC Prevention of Chronic Disease, researchers from the Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, New York found that children who had pets were less vulnerable to anxiety disorder compared to children who did not have pets.
‘Having a pet dog at home is associated with a decreased probability of childhood anxiety.’
They analyzed 643 children in the age of 7 years, who came for an annual medical check up in a pediatric clinic. Among this, 58% of children had pets. Parents of the children were asked to fill a web-based health-risk screener that had domains like child body mass index (BMI), physical activity, screen time, mental health, and pet-related questions.
Researchers found that around 12 % of children who had pets suffered from anxiety, compared to 21% of children who did not have pets. The main reason for reduced anxiety levels in children with pets were stimulated conversation and alleviated separation- symptoms.
"If exposure to pet dogs during childhood is inversely related to mental health problems, positive child-dog interactions could prevent the evolution of these problems into full-fledged disorders during adolescence or later life", said researchers.
Reference: Gadomski AM, Scribani MB, Krupa N, Jenkins P, Nagykaldi Z, Olson AL. Pet Dogs and Children's Health: Opportunities for Chronic Disease Prevention? Prev Chronic Dis 2015;12:150204. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd12.150204.