Abstract / Description of output
Research to date in Western contexts has indicated various physical and psychological health effects of pet ownership among children, but less is known about the role pets play in the health of children in China. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence on the effects of pet ownership on physical and psychological health among children in China. A literature search was performed in eight databases for studies that investigated the health and psychological effects of pet exposure on children (operationalized as birth to 20 years) in China, and a quality assessment and a narrative synthesis of results were conducted. Fifty-nine studies published between 2002 and 2021 were included in this review, of which 57 focused on children’s physical health issues including asthma and allergy symptoms, Toxoplasma gondii infection, animal induced injuries, low birth weight and hypertension, while only two studies focused on children’s psychological health. Overall, pet exposure was most often studied as a risk factor for respiratory health, injuries, and T. gondii infection among children in China but was also seen as a protective factor for cardiovascular health and for the association between environmental pollution and children’s respiratory function. In addition to physical health effects, two studies focused on psychological factors: post-traumatic stress following animal-induced injuries and benefits of reading following a canine-assisted activity. Findings underscore the need for further research examining the effects of pet ownership on children’s development and psychological health in China.
Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)
- physical health
- psychological health
- systematic review