‘Canine people’ are less likely to be alone during lockdowns

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Australian research has found that dog owners tend to have different personality traits than cat owners, and the former tended to cope better with loneliness during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Researchers from James Cook University interviewed 534 isolated residents in Australia who were dog owners, cat owners and people without animals during the second period of lockdown, one of the strictest and most restrictive in the world.

For those confined to COVID-19, they found that owning a dog and a cat eased isolation and provided companionship for people living alone, said psychologist Jessica Oliva.

Due to their heightened alertness, dog owners, in particular, have proven to be less alone.

Mindfulness is the ability to keep the mind alert to what is happening in the present moment and to calmly recognize and accept feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Personality traits are a bigger factor

Oliva discovered that this was probably not due to the pet, but to the character traits of the owner.

“It’s possible that the lower levels of loneliness seen in dog owners are more related to the personality type associated with being a dog owner than to the dogs themselves,” she said. declared.

She found that “dog people” were completely different from “cat people” in Big Five personality traits, and so it’s possible that dog owners are more hardy and recover quickly from social isolation. forced and separation from their loved ones.

Big Five personality traits include openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

“The association between higher levels of mindfulness and lower levels of loneliness is consistent with previous research that suggests mindfulness alleviates or prevents loneliness,” Oliva said.

“A significant relationship was also observed between increased mindfulness and decreased loneliness.”

Andrew Stuart wears a bandana as a mask while taking a selfie with his dog, Voltron, on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, Calif., on July 2, 2020. (Ashley Landis/AP Photo)

“This means that efforts to find ways to increase mindfulness during social isolation are important.”

Australia’s ‘short and sharp’ COVID-19 lockdowns have become the longest in the world. Melbourne, the second largest city, has spent 267 days, or 45% of the time, under lockdown since the CCP virus pandemic was declared on March 13, 2020.

The number of Australians owning pets jumped 10% during the pandemic, according to Animal Medicines Australia, with nearly half of all households having at least one dog.

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