Cognitive Function and Participation of Stroke Survivors Living With Companion Animals: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Introduction/Objectives: Companion animals (CAs) may benefit human health, but few studies have examined their impact on stroke survivors. This study examines participation, quality of life (QoL), attachment, cognition, and executive function differences between stroke survivors living with and without CAs. Methods: In this cross-sectional, community-setting study, 25 stroke survivors with a CA and a matched group of 27 without a CA completed standard tools. Results: Stroke survivors with a CA scored significantly higher in participation and 1 cognitive performance test. No significant differences were found in other cognitive measures or QoL, and attachment to a CA was not correlated with participation or QoL within the research group. However, lower attachment avoidance correlated with better participation in survivors living with dogs. Conclusion: Living with CAs, especially dogs, might be associated with some cognitive function and participation benefits among stroke survivors. The link between CAs and cognitive function is unclear: Survivors with higher cognitive functioning might be more capable of caring for a CA, or having and caring for a CA might promote better cognitive function. Attachment patterns also might explain stroke survivors’ participation levels. Further study is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • attachment
  • cognition
  • companion animal
  • executive function
  • participation
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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