Mascotas: aliadas de la salud mental durante el confinamiento


Compartir la casa con una mascota pare­ció actuar como un amortiguador contra el estrés psicológi­co durante el encierro, según una encuesta realizada por la Univer­sidad de York y la Universidad de Lincoln, en Reino Unido, publica­da en la revista ‘PLOS ONE’.

La mayoría de las personas que participaron en la investigación, entre el 23 de marzo y el 1 de ju­nio pasados, percibieron que sus mascotas eran una fuente de apo­yo considerable durante el perío­do de encierro.

El estudio encontró que tener una mascota estaba relacionado con el mantenimiento de una me­jor salud mental y la reducción de la soledad. Alrededor del 90 por ciento de los 6.000 participantes tenían al menos una mascota. La fuerza del vínculo humano-ani­mal no difirió significativamente entre las especies, siendo las mas­cotas más comunes los gatos y los perros, seguidos de los pequeños mamíferos y los peces.

Más del 90 por ciento de los encuestados dijo que su masco­ta los ayudó a sobrellevar emo­cionalmente el encierro y el 96 por ciento dijo que su mascota los ayudó a mantenerse en forma y activos.

Sin embargo, el 68 por ciento de los dueños de mascotas infor­maron haber estado preocupados por sus animales durante el en­cierro, por ejemplo, debido a res­tricciones de acceso a la atención veterinaria y al ejercicio o porque no sabían quién cuidaría de su mascota si se enfermaba.

La autora principal, la doc­tora Elena Ratschen, del Depar­tamento de Ciencias de la Salud de la Universidad de York, desta­ca: “Los hallazgos de este estudio también demostraron vínculos potenciales entre la salud men­tal de las personas y los vínculos emocionales que forman con sus mascotas: medidas de la fuerza del vínculo humano-animal fue­ron más altos entre las personas que informaron puntuaciones más bajas para los resultados re­lacionados con la salud mental al inicio del estudio”.

“También descubrimos que en este estudio la fuerza del vínculo emocional con las mascotas no di­firió estadísticamente según la es­pecie animal, lo que significa que las personas de nuestra muestra se sintieron en promedio tan emo­cionalmente cercanas, por ejem­plo, a su conejillo de indias como a su perro –añade-. Será impor­tante asegurarse de que los due­ños de mascotas reciban el apoyo adecuado para cuidar a su masco­ta durante la pandemia”.


El coautor del estudio, el profesor Daniel Mills, acla­ra que es importante que to­dos aprecien las necesida­des de sus mascotas también. “Nuestro otro trabajo mues­tra que no satisfacerlas pue­de tener un efecto perjudicial tanto para las personas como para sus mascotas”.


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