Pet ownership and symptoms of depression: A prospective study of older adults.

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López-Sánchez, GF
Sharpley, C
Veronese, N
Smith, L
Bitsika, V
Demurtas, J
Celotto, S
Noventa, V
Soysal, PINAR
Grabovac, I
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Background:This paper aims to examine associations between pet ownership and symptoms of depression in alarge, population-based sample of older adults. Specifically, we tested whether: (i) people who report moredepressive symptoms are more likely to own a pet; (ii) pet ownership protects against an increase in depressivesymptoms over time; (iii) associations differ by symptom type.Methods:Data were drawn from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, a longitudinal panel study of men andwomen aged 50 and older (n= 7,617, 52.5% female). Pet ownership (dog/cat/other/none) was self-reported in2010/11. Depressive symptoms were assessed in 2010/11 and 2016/17 using the 8-item centre forEpidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. We analysed total CES-D score and derived symptom subscales(depressed mood, anhedonia, somatic symptoms) in relation to pet ownership, adjusting for sociodemographicand health-related covariates.Results:A one-symptom increase in total CES-D score was associated with 7% increased odds of dog ownership(OR=1.07, 95% CI 1.03–1.11). Significant associations were observed between each subset of depressivesymptoms and dog ownership, with models run on z-scores showing a slightly stronger association for symptomsof depressed mood (OR=1.13, 95% CI 1.06–1.21) compared with anhedonia (OR=1.10, 95% CI 1.04–1.17) orsomatic symptoms (OR=1.10, 95% CI 1.03–1.18). Prospectively, no significant associations were found.Limitations:Self-reported data; small sample size for some pet categories. Conclusion:Amongst older adults in England, those with more depressive symptoms are more likely to own adog, but pet ownership is not significantly associated with change in depressive symptoms over time.
Depression, Depressive symptoms, Older adults, Pet ownership
Sharpley C., Veronese N., Smith L., López-Sánchez G., Bitsika V., Demurtas J., Celotto S., Noventa V., Soysal P., Isik A., et al., -Pet ownership and symptoms of depression: A prospective study of older adults.-, Journal of affective disorders, cilt.264, ss.35-39, 2019
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