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

  • Headey, Bruce
  • Grabka, Markus M.

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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File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/66146/3/Headey_2007_Pets-Human-Health.pdf
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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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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  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. 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.
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