Dog and cat ownership predicts adolescents’ mental well-being: A population-based longitudinal study

Kaori Endo, Syudo Yamasaki, Shuntaro Ando, Takefumi Kikusui, Kazutaka Mogi, Miho Nagasawa, Itsuka Kamimura, Junko Ishihara, Miharu Nakanishi, Satoshi Usami, Mariko Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, Kiyoto Kasai, Atsushi Nishida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


A potential association between pet ownership and mental well-being is suggested, but there is a shortage of high-quality longitudinal studies that consider probable differences among different species. We aimed to examine whether ownership of the most popular pets (dogs and cats) would predict mental well-being. The Tokyo Teen Cohort (TTC), a prospective population-based birth cohort study, had dog and cat ownership data at age 10 and mental well-being score at ages 10 and 12 from 2584 adolescents. Linear regression analysis with adjusting for covariates showed that dog ownership had a positive effect on mental well-being compared to no dog ownership, however, cat ownership had a negative effect compared to no cat ownership. Two-factor mixed-design analysis of variance showed that dog ownership predicted maintained mental well-being, while cat ownership predicted progressing decline of mental well-being. Thus, dog and cat ownership may have different effects on adolescents’ mental well-being, implying that the underlying mechanisms that are activated by these types of ownership may differ.

Original languageEnglish
Article number884
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb


  • Adolescent
  • Cats
  • Cohort studies
  • Dogs
  • Pets
  • Well-being


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