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40 J. Soc. & Soc. Welfare 237 (2013)
Humans' Bonding with Their Companion Dogs: Cardiovascular Benefits during and after Stress

handle is hein.journals/jrlsasw40 and id is 828 raw text is: Humans' Bonding with their Companion Dogs:
Cardiovascular Benefits during and after Stress
Department of Psychology and
Health Psychology Program
University of Utah
This study examined whether having one's companion dog pres-
ent during and after stress posed similar cardiovascular benefits as
having a close friend present, even when the relationship quality
for both the companion dog and friend was highly positive. Positive
aspects of relationship quality for participants' dog and friend were
not associated with one another, suggesting that these relation-
ships exist independently. Additionally, compared to participants
with a close friend present, those with their dog present had lower
heart rate and diastolic blood pressure (p's < .05) while undergo-
ing the stressors, and tended to have lower heart rate and systolic
blood pressure (p's < .09) when recovering from stressors. This
study indicates that even when relationship quality is similarly
high for companion dogs and friends, dogs may be associated with
greater reductions in owners' cardiovascular reactivity to stress,
particularly if there is a potential for evaluation apprehension in
the human friendships. These findings support the value of the hu-
man-companion animal relationship in promoting human welfare.
Key words: bonding, companion dogs, cardiovascular health, stress
Repetitive, exaggerated cardiovascular reactivity to psy-
chological stress may influence the development and progres-
sion of cardiovascular disease, and more generally, lead to
pathophysiological consequences such as metabolic changes,
increased inflammation, and immunosuppression (Player,
King, Mainous, & Geesey, 2007; Rosengren et al., 2004; Treiber
et al., 2003). Research indicates that human social support
may buffer cardiovascular responses to stress (Cohen & Wills,
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, December 2013, Volume XL, Number 4

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