Conditions for pets to prevent depression in older adults

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

10 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1627-1633
Journal / PublicationAging and Mental Health
Issue number12
Online published4 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Objective: The study aims to determine if and how pet availability and engagement predicted depression in older adults. The prediction can be unconditional or independent of the sociodemographic characteristics of the older adult and/or conditional or dependent on the characteristics. These predictions rest on the contribution of resources pooled from older adults, their spouses, and pets, according to ecological theory. 
Method: The present study analyzed the effects of pet availability and engagement based on a survey of 340 older adults in Hong Kong, China. 
Results: Pet engagement but not pet availability manifested a significant negative effect on depression unconditionally. In addition, pet availability and engagement indicated some significant negative effects conditionally, including living with the spouse as a condition. 
Conclusion: For preventing depression in older adults, promoting their pet availability and engagement is promising. Particularly, the promotion would be more effective for older adults living with their spouses and being more resourceful than for others.

Research Area(s)

  • Depression, functional status, pet, social support