Cats can help highly emotional people reduce stress

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In a study from Washington State University, scientists found many people, especially those with strong and highly reactive emotions, want and would benefit from cats for reducing stress.

They found most universities implementing animal-assisted interventions only include dogs. But many people rely on cats for stress relief.

The study showed that several factors shaped a positive response to a cat visitation program and found that the personality trait of emotionality played an important role.

Emotionality, part of a well-established psychology model called the Big Five personality traits, indicates a person has strong emotions and is highly reactive to them.

In the study, the team surveyed more than 1,400 university students and staff for the paper from over 20 universities.

They found that people on the higher end of that scale were much more interested in interacting with cats on campus.

The link between personality and openness to interacting with cats mattered even after accounting for openness to a dog visitation program, being a cat owner, and identifying as female.

Given that prior research has shown that such individuals may be more open to forming strong attachments to animals, it makes sense they would want cats to be included in these programs.

The results revealed that students are interested in interacting with cats and that this interest may be driven by personality traits.

Having the option of being able to choose interaction with a cat or dog or both, may increase the number of people interested in attending an animal-assisted intervention, which is shown to lower stress and make people feel better.

That’s the whole point for the scientists.

If you care about mental health, please read studies that ultra-processed foods may make you feel depressed, and Vitamin D could help reduce depression symptoms.

For more information about mental health, please see recent studies about vegetarianism linked to a higher risk of depression, and results showing how mindfulness and dance can stimulate a part of the brain that can improve mental health.

The study was conducted by Patricia Pendry et al and published in the journal Anthrozoös.

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