Personalities and health in older cat and dog owners: A HUNT-study


The aim of this population study was to identify personality traits among older (>65 years) male and female owners of cats and dogs and to compare their general health status in relation to their personality. Further, the aim was to examine whether current cat and dog ownership could be predicted by the owners’ personality and health. Data were collected from the North-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) in Norway. Included were a total of 1897 cat or dog owners between the ages of 65 years and 101 years. The results showed that there were a higher proportion of introverted male cat owners than extraverted ones. Moreover, a majority of women with cats reported that their health was not good. Furthermore, female cat owners who displayed higher scores on neurotic traits experienced significantly poorer health compared to those female cat owners that experienced good health. The same was true for female cat owners who considered themselves to be introverted. Neither personality nor health could predict pet-ownership, but it was more likely for older individuals (80-101 years) to own a cat than a dog. This study has shown that human personality is associated with cat and dog ownership, but there are other factors connected with pet ownership as well.

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Enmarker, I. , Hellzén, O. , Ekker, K. and T. Berg, A. (2013) Personalities and health in older cat and dog owners: A HUNT-study. Health, 5, 1449-1454. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.59197.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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