Exactly how do animals affect their companion humans' quality of life? The 7th International Conference on Animals, Health, and Quality of Life set out to explore this question. A major result of this quest was Companion Animals in Human Health, a careful selection of jurored and invited papers from that conference. The articles address human animal interaction (HAI) according to the elements that define quality of life: physical, mental/emotional, and social health; functional health; and general well-being. Beginning with an overview of human animal interaction from historical and value perspectives, the authors develop a conceptual framework for HAI research and quality of life measurement. They then go on to explore the psychosocial and physiological impact of HAI. The concluding sections address the role of companion animals in human development and the training and welfare of animals in therapeutic programs.
As a state-of-the-science document, Companion Animals in Human Health is must reading for all health and social science professionals caring for clients who already have companion animals or for clients who might benefit from such interaction and thus will be of interest to those in the fields of clinical psychology, cognition, developmental psychology, family studies, gerontology, nursing, patient care, psychology, public health, and sociology.