|Mr. Taneichi is a doctoral student at Waseda University
Graduate School, majoring in clinical psychology. In the past, he has tackled
the question of whether human support has a positive influence on health. This
led him to the current line of research. The project is an investigation of whether
keeping companion animals has stress relief effects for the owners. Mr. Taneichi
says his idea for the project emerged when he asked college students the question
'Who do you confide in and tell your worries to?,' and several subjects mentioned
names of their pets. More than a few people think having pets has psychologically
beneficial effects, but this question has not often been approached academically.
And approaches to the subject from the field of psychology have been especially
Mr. Taneichi conducted a questionnaire survey of 239 students of Waseda
University, and also created the ACSS, a scale for characterizing human-animal
relationships. His research began with the creation of a provisional ACSS.
Based on existing scales in the United States and Europe and on opinions
from veterinarians and pet owners, 145 questions were created, and after
categorizing them, the provisional scale was created with 30 items. Then
in April-June, the questionnaire survey was conducted during college lecture
time. The outcome was a scale comprising three groups of criteria
emotional support from pets, perceived confidence of the pet in the owner,
and interaction with pets and 10 items.
Comparisons with ACSS scores revealed that those who own pets
at home or at their parents' homes tend to have higher scores the more time they
spend with their pets per day on average. The comparison also found that cat owners
showed a tendency to have higher scores in the 'interaction with pets' item than
those who own dogs and other animals. In addition, Taneichi conducted hierarchical
multiple regression analysis to predict stress reaction scores by cross-referencing
factors such as whether the subject owns a pet or not, stress event scores and
total ACSS scores. The result showed that there was no relation between whether
the person owns pets or not and stress reaction level. On the other hand, ACSS
scores differed depending on whether or not the person owns a pet. That is, in
those who own pets, the higher their ACSS scores are, the lower their stress reaction
scores are, while there was no relation between the two among non-pet owners.
From these findings, Taneichi thought it highly possible that affection for pets
and interactions such as taking care of pets are linked with lowering of stress
In addition, Mr. Taneichi said this result was actually a surprise
to him. He said he initially had a skeptical frame of mind when he studied the
correlation of health and having a pet. He seems to have thought that the correlation
merely comes from subjective judgment of pet owners and or their illusions. "However,
as a result of this research analysis, my doubts were nullified," he concluded.