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The effects of resident and visiting pets on elderly peoples’ mood states in residential homes

Barwell, Lucy (2013) The effects of resident and visiting pets on elderly peoples’ mood states in residential homes. University of Chester. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Whether or not animal therapy provides positive therapeutic benefits to the elderly living in long-term care facilities remains inconclusive. Therefore, based on the study of Crowley-Robinson, Fenwick and Blackshaw (1996) this current study investigated whether the presence of a resident pet, visiting pet or no pet in residential homes, caused differences within elderly residents’ mood states. Additionally, it considered their gender and liking of animals, to examine whether animal therapy benefited one individual more than another. The Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire was employed to measure the mood states tension, depression, anger, vigour, fatigue and confusion, as well as a Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) score, which were analysed using a between-subjects Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA). The results found no significant main effect of pet presence on any of the mood states or TMD score, thus one pet presence did not cause more positive mood states than another. Gender was found to have a significant main effect on tension, with females being significantly tenser than males. No significant interaction between gender and pet presence was found, meaning pet presence did not benefit the mood states of one gender more than the other and, due to a limited, uneven sample size, the data for whether the participants liked animals or not was not analysed. Therefore, inconclusive findings continue as to whether animal therapy provides the elderly with positive therapeutic benefits. Although, this does indicate that elderly residents living in long-term care facilities with no pet are not at a disadvantage.

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