Cats, dogs and ME research

August 8, 2007

It has long been believed that “pets are good for us”, and indeed research now confirms that dogs, cats, and other animals can improve both our physical and mental health, helping to reduce stress, anxiety, loneliness and depression.

To date, the effect of pet ownership on people with ME has been completely overlooked. Queen’s University Belfast, however, has recently been awarded funding to explore this phenomenon.  The research aims to investigate whether pets can offer any health benefits to people with ME, or alternatively, whether they cause more problems for their owners than perks!  

Dr. Deborah Wells, who is leading the research, is currently recruiting participants for the project. Participation simply requires people with ME (both pet owners AND non-pet owners) to complete a 15 minute postal questionnaire in the privacy of their own homes.  Participation is completely voluntary and all of the data collected will be treated as confidential. Participants will not be required to disclose their names or any personal details on their questionnaires.  

It is hoped that as many people with ME as possible will participate in this nationwide research, and help to shed light on one aspect of this very much overlooked biomedical condition. If you would be willing to help with this project, and would like to be sent a questionnaire to complete, then please contact:

Dr Deborah Wells, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast, BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK; Email: Dr Deborah Wells; Tel: 028 90 974386

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