Cardiovascular Reactivity and the Presence of Pets, Friends, and Spouses: The Truth About Cats and Dogs

  title={Cardiovascular Reactivity and the Presence of Pets, Friends, and Spouses: The Truth About Cats and Dogs},
  author={Karen Allen and Jim Blascovich and Wendy Berry Mendes},
  journal={Psychosomatic Medicine},
Objective The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the presence of friends, spouses, and pets on cardiovascular reactivity to psychological and physical stress. Methods Cardiovascular reactivity was examined among 240 married couples, half of whom owned a pet. Mental arithmetic and cold pressor were performed in one of four randomly assigned social support conditions: alone, with pet or friend (friend present for non-pet owners), with spouse, with spouse and pet/friend. Results… Expand

Paper Mentions

Interventional Clinical Trial
The objective of this study is to apply a rigorous experimental design to test whether children's interactions with therapy dogs increase immediate prosocial behavior and reduce… Expand
ConditionsBehavior, Social, Stress Reaction
Physiological responses by college students to a dog and a cat: Implications for pet therapy
Companion animals are an important part of our social world. We often talk to them as if they were humans and some even refer to pets as their children. They are a source of comfort, love, and theirExpand
The effects of the spontaneous presence of a spouse/partner and others on cardiovascular reactions to an acute psychological challenge.
It is indicated that the spontaneous presence of others is associated with a reduction in cardiovascular reactivity in an everyday environment; spouse/partner presence would appear to be especially effective for women. Expand
Humans' Bonding with their Companion Dogs: Cardiovascular Benefits during and after Stress
Even when relationship quality is similarly high for companion dogs and friends, dogs may be associated with greater reductions in owners’ cardiovascular reactivity to stress, particularly if there is a potential for evaluation apprehension in the human friendships. Expand
Are Pets a Healthy Pleasure? The Influence of Pets on Blood Pressure
Pet owners often describe their pets as important and cherished family members who offer solace in times of stress. This article considers evidence suggesting that pets influence human bloodExpand
The presence of a dog attenuates cortisol and heart rate in the Trier Social Stress Test compared to human friends
It is suggested that short-term exposure to a novel dog in an unfamiliar setting can be beneficial, and a possible mechanism for the beneficial effect associated with affiliation with pets is suggested. Expand
Neurological Perspectives on Pets and the Elderly: The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Grandparents
The last century and the beginning of the current one have seen an increase in the number of elderly people in society. Ageing is generally associated with an increase in dependency, multimorbidityExpand
Physiological and behavioral reactivity to stress in thunderstorm-phobic dogs and their caregivers
Abstract This study addresses interactions between hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis activation in response to stress, relationship quality, and behavior in thunderstorm-anxious dogs andExpand
Dognition : the effect of pet ownership on cognition in older adults
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of pet ownership on cognition in older adults. Previous research has indicated that interactions with pets are associated with improvedExpand
About Cats and Dogs … Reconsidering the Relationship Between Pet Ownership and Health Related Outcomes in Community-Dwelling Elderly
Having a pet has been claimed to have beneficial health effects, but methodologically sound empirical studies are scarce. Small sample sizes and a lack of information about the specific type of petsExpand
Does cat attachment have an effect on human health? A comparison between owners and volunteers
Cat owners and volunteers from a rehoming centre were given the Lexington Attachment to Pet Scale (LAPS) questionnaire to assess their level of attachment to their own or rescue cats. In addition,Expand


Presence of human friends and pet dogs as moderators of autonomic responses to stress in women.
Results demonstrated that autonomic reactivity was moderated by the presence of a companion, the nature of whom was critical to the size and direction of the effect. Expand
The effect of social support and physical touch on cardiovascular reactions to mental stress.
If the extent of cardiovascular reactivity is related to social support, the presence of a friend may be the important mediating variable. Expand
Evaluation interferes with social support : Effects on cardiovascular stress reactivity in women
We examined the role of social support in moderating cardiovascular reactivity to behavioral stress. Fifty female students performed a stressful math task while alone or in the presence of a closeExpand
Stressful life events and use of physician services among the elderly: the moderating role of pet ownership.
  • J. Siegel
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 1990
Dog owners in comparison to owners of other pets spent more time with their pets and felt that their pets were more important to them, and dogs more than other pets provided their owners with companionship and an object of attachment. Expand
Social support reduces cardiovascular reactivity to psychological challenge: a laboratory model.
Interpersonal support may reduce cardiovascular responsivity to stress, an effect with possible implications for understanding the association between social relationships and cardiovascular risk. Expand
Social Interaction and Blood Pressure: Influence of Animal Companions
Insight is provided into the use of pets as adjuncts in psychotherapy by speculating that the animal causes the children to modify their perceptions of the experimental situation and the experimenter by making both less threatening and more friendly. Expand
Nonevaluative Social Support Reduces Cardiovascular Reactivity in Young Women During Acutely Stressful Performance Situations
It is concluded that the presence of a nonevaluative friend or stranger can reduce cardiovascular responses and that the quality of supportive ties modulates the impact of those ties on responses to stress. Expand
Social support and cardiovascular reactivity.
The role of social support following stress, both in speeding the cardiovascular return to pre-stress levels, and in limiting rumination-induced cardiovascular responses, is one fruitful area for further work. Expand
Social Support Effects on Cardiovascular Reactivity: Is a Stranger as Effective as a Friend?
SocialSupport from a friend attenuated cardiovascular reactivity in a laboratory setting to a greater degree than support from a stranger, over and above the effects of the actual behaviors themselves. Expand
An evaluation of the impact of social support manipulations on cardiovascular reactivity to laboratory stressors.
2 studies evaluating the association between social support and cardiovascular reactivity to a stressor failed to support the reactivity buffering effects of social support. Expand