Most people agree that having pets can make you feel good. But a Michigan State University study showed that owning a pet doesn’t necessarily make you happier, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research, detailed in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, looked at 767 individuals three times in May 2020. Using both numbers and personal stories, the study examined several happiness factors. Pet owners said their furry friends brought joy and positive vibes into their lives, giving love and company. Yet, they also mentioned stress about their pet’s health and the challenges pets presented while working from home.
However, when measuring overall contentment against those without pets, the stats didn’t show any real difference between the two groups over time. It was true regardless of pet type or number, how bonded owners felt to their animals, or the owners’ personalities.
It’s common for someone to suggest getting a pet to someone who’s feeling solitary or seeking friendship. However, getting a pet may not change your life like some might expect. The researchers looked at various explanations for why pet ownership doesn’t always equate to greater happiness. One possibility is that those without pets have other sources of joy in their lives.