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Research projects

Exploring the Role of Pets in Children's Well-being and Mental Health

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Anna-Karin Larsson

Research subject

In this project, the significance of pets for the well-being and mental health of children is being examined. Pets play an important role in the everyday lives and family dynamics of many individuals. Since many children have their own pets or have animals in close proximity, these animals often become significant parts of their lives and close companions whom they share strong bonds with.

Children and youth who are facing difficult life situations such as mental health issues, domestic violence, or chronic illnesses are exposed to various stressors that negatively impact their well-being. When considering the circumstances of children's lives, particularly those living in challenging situations, it is important to recognize their relationships with animals as an essential piece of the puzzle in understanding their world and the factors that contribute to their well-being. We still have limited knowledge about the significance of pets and to what extent relationships with family or nearby pets help children cope with a childhood marked by difficult circumstances or vulnerability within the family. Therefore, this study aims to explore the importance of pets for children's well-being and health, with a specific focus on the perspectives of the children themselves.