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Pets and Human Health in Germany and Australia: National Longitudinal Results

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  • Headey, Bruce
  • Grabka, Markus M.

Abstract

The German and Australian longitudinal surveys analysed here are the first national representative surveys to show that (1) people who continuously own a pet are the healthiest group and (2) people who cease to have a pet or never had one are less healthy. Most previous studies which have claimed that pets confer health benefits were cross-sectional. So they were open to the objection that owners may have been healthier in the first place, rather than becoming healthier due to owning a pet. In both countries the data show that pet owners make about 15% fewer annual doctor visits than non-owners. The relationship remains statistically significant after controlling for gender, age, marital status, income and other variables associated with health. The German data come from the German Socio-Economic Panel in which respondents have been interviewed every year since 1984 (N = 9723). Australian data come from the Australian National Social Science Survey 2001 (N = 1246). --

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ZBW - German National Library of Economics in its journal EconStor Open Access Articles.

Volume (Year): (2007-01)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 297-311

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Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:66146

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Keywords: doctor visits; health; panel surveys; pet owners;

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References

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  1. Elke Holst & Dean R. Lillard & Thomas A. DiPrete, 2001. "Proceedings of the 2000 Fourth International Conference of German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users (GSOEP 2000): Editorial Introduction," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 70(1), pages 5-6.
  2. Wood, Lisa & Giles-Corti, Billie & Bulsara, Max, 2005. "The pet connection: Pets as a conduit for social capital?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(6), pages 1159-1173, September.
  3. Johannes Schwarze & Hanfried H. Andersen & Silke Anger, 2000. "Self-Rated Health and Changes in Self-Rated Health as Predictors of Mortality: First Evidence from German Panel Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 203, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Bruce Headey, 1999. "Health Benefits and Health Cost Savings Due to Pets: Preliminary Estimates from an Australian National Survey," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 233-243, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Mieke Rijken & Sandra Beek, 2011. "About Cats and Dogs … Reconsidering the Relationship Between Pet Ownership and Health Related Outcomes in Community-Dwelling Elderly," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 102(3), pages 373-388, July.
  2. Bruce Headey & Fu Na & Richard Zheng, 2008. "Pet Dogs Benefit Owners’ Health: A ‘Natural Experiment’ in China," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 87(3), pages 481-493, July.
  3. Rebecca Utz, 2014. "Walking the Dog: The Effect of Pet Ownership on Human Health and Health Behaviors," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 116(2), pages 327-339, April.

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