AIDS diagnosis and depression in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study: the ameliorating impact of pet ownership

AIDS Care. 1999 Apr;11(2):157-70. doi: 10.1080/09540129948054.


The impact of pet ownership on depression was tested among a sample of gay and bisexual men (n = 1,872). Multivariate analyses, controlling for demographics and baseline depressive symptomatology, showed that neither pet ownership nor the presence of HIV infection was associated with depression. Depression was influenced by the presence of AIDS and by having relatively few confidants. Analyses among HIV-infected men only showed that persons with AIDS who owned pets reported less depression than persons with AIDS who did not own pets. This beneficial effect of pet ownership occurred principally among persons who reported fewer confidants. These results suggest that by enhancing companionship for some HIV-infected persons, pets may buffer the stressful impact of AIDS.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Human-Animal Bond
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis