This study examined whether having one's companion dog present 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 relationships 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 undergoing 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 human- companion animal relationship in promoting human welfare.
Campo, Rebecca A. and Uchino, Bert N.
"Humans' Bonding with their Companion Dogs: Cardiovascular Benefits during and after Stress,"
The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare: Vol. 40
, Article 13.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/jssw/vol40/iss4/13