WSU Researcher Asking If Animals Have Helped During The Pandemic

What impact have animals had on young people during the coronavirus pandemic. A Washington State University 4-H faculty member is trying to find out. Thanks to major restrictions on in-person meetings and events, many young people are not able to do the school or extracurricular activities that would take place in a typical year.

Stephanie Roeter Smith, a 4-H Regional Specialist and human-animal interaction researcher, is conducting a story on how animals like pets and livestock might be filling in and providing much needed social interaction for young people during the pandemic.

To find out, she created an On-line Survey for youth ages 7 to 18.

“We know that pets and animals already play an important role in the lives of children and families,” Smith said. “Families often view pets as family members. With kids spending more time at home and away from friends, I’m curious if and how animals might be picking up some of the slack for the social interactions youth are missing out on.

“This survey will help us better understand the role of animals in the lives of youth right now as we navigate this historical point in time, and maybe even clue us in on identifying strategies for helping youth and families cope in times of chronic stress,” Smith continued.

Youth today are struggling with mental health more than ever, and the impact of the current pandemic will surely be reflected in our communities for years to come, Smith said.

To participate in the survey, Click Here.

If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail [email protected]

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