Abstract

Background
Most research into the health benefits of human-animal interaction has focused on species that interact physically with humans, such as dogs. This may be unsuitable for certain populations for reasons including accessibility and the risk of negative consequences to both the person and the animal. However, some research has associated viewing fish in aquariums with positive well-being outcomes; as there is no physical contact with the animal, this form of interaction carries less risk. At present, little is known about the specific benefits of human-fish interaction.

Objectives
To explore current evidence relating to the psychological and physiological benefits of interacting with fish in aquariums.

Methods
Systematic searches were conducted to identify relevant primary research of any design. All forms of interaction were considered, including pet fish ownership and fish aquarium-based interventions. “Non-live” alternatives, such as videos, were also considered. This review was conducted according to a registered protocol (PROSPERO ID: CRD42018090466).

Results
Seventeen studies were included. Two relating to pet fish ownership provided tentative evidence that keeping home aquaria is associated with relaxation. The remaining studies involved novel interactions with fish in home or public aquariums. Outcomes relating to anxiety, relaxation and/or physiological stress were commonly assessed; evidence was mixed with both positive and null findings. Preliminary support was found for effects on mood, pain, nutritional intake and body weight, but not loneliness. All studies had methodological issues and risk of bias was either high or unclear.

Conclusions
Review findings suggest that interacting with fish in aquariums has the potential to benefit human well-being, although research on this topic is currently limited. Future research should aim to address gaps in the evidence, such as whether and how the type of human-fish interaction can influence well-being outcomes. Researchers should also aim to address the methodological concerns highlighted in this review.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0220524
Number of pages36
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2019

Fingerprint

aquarium fish
systematic review
Fish
human health
Fishes
Health
fish
ownership
aquariums
pets
Animals
human-animal relations
Ownership
Pets
anxiety
emotions
pain
animals
Research
researchers

Cite this

@article{d7a85887ad644f82a8afeb255407044e,
title = "The effects of interacting with fish in aquariums on human health and well-being: a systematic review",
abstract = "BackgroundMost research into the health benefits of human-animal interaction has focused on species that interact physically with humans, such as dogs. This may be unsuitable for certain populations for reasons including accessibility and the risk of negative consequences to both the person and the animal. However, some research has associated viewing fish in aquariums with positive well-being outcomes; as there is no physical contact with the animal, this form of interaction carries less risk. At present, little is known about the specific benefits of human-fish interaction. ObjectivesTo explore current evidence relating to the psychological and physiological benefits of interacting with fish in aquariums. MethodsSystematic searches were conducted to identify relevant primary research of any design. All forms of interaction were considered, including pet fish ownership and fish aquarium-based interventions. “Non-live” alternatives, such as videos, were also considered. This review was conducted according to a registered protocol (PROSPERO ID: CRD42018090466).ResultsSeventeen studies were included. Two relating to pet fish ownership provided tentative evidence that keeping home aquaria is associated with relaxation. The remaining studies involved novel interactions with fish in home or public aquariums. Outcomes relating to anxiety, relaxation and/or physiological stress were commonly assessed; evidence was mixed with both positive and null findings. Preliminary support was found for effects on mood, pain, nutritional intake and body weight, but not loneliness. All studies had methodological issues and risk of bias was either high or unclear. Conclusions Review findings suggest that interacting with fish in aquariums has the potential to benefit human well-being, although research on this topic is currently limited. Future research should aim to address gaps in the evidence, such as whether and how the type of human-fish interaction can influence well-being outcomes. Researchers should also aim to address the methodological concerns highlighted in this review.",
author = "Heather Clements and Stephanie Valentin and Nicholas Jenkins and Jean Rankin and Baker, {Julien S.} and Nancy Gee and Donna Snellgrove and Katherine Sloman",
year = "2019",
month = "7",
day = "29",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0220524",
language = "English",
volume = "14",
journal = "PLoS ONE",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "7",

}

The effects of interacting with fish in aquariums on human health and well-being : a systematic review. / Clements, Heather; Valentin, Stephanie; Jenkins, Nicholas; Rankin, Jean; Baker, Julien S.; Gee, Nancy; Snellgrove, Donna; Sloman, Katherine.

In: PLoS ONE, Vol. 14, No. 7, e0220524, 29.07.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The effects of interacting with fish in aquariums on human health and well-being

T2 - a systematic review

AU - Clements, Heather

AU - Valentin, Stephanie

AU - Jenkins, Nicholas

AU - Rankin, Jean

AU - Baker, Julien S.

AU - Gee, Nancy

AU - Snellgrove, Donna

AU - Sloman, Katherine

PY - 2019/7/29

Y1 - 2019/7/29

N2 - BackgroundMost research into the health benefits of human-animal interaction has focused on species that interact physically with humans, such as dogs. This may be unsuitable for certain populations for reasons including accessibility and the risk of negative consequences to both the person and the animal. However, some research has associated viewing fish in aquariums with positive well-being outcomes; as there is no physical contact with the animal, this form of interaction carries less risk. At present, little is known about the specific benefits of human-fish interaction. ObjectivesTo explore current evidence relating to the psychological and physiological benefits of interacting with fish in aquariums. MethodsSystematic searches were conducted to identify relevant primary research of any design. All forms of interaction were considered, including pet fish ownership and fish aquarium-based interventions. “Non-live” alternatives, such as videos, were also considered. This review was conducted according to a registered protocol (PROSPERO ID: CRD42018090466).ResultsSeventeen studies were included. Two relating to pet fish ownership provided tentative evidence that keeping home aquaria is associated with relaxation. The remaining studies involved novel interactions with fish in home or public aquariums. Outcomes relating to anxiety, relaxation and/or physiological stress were commonly assessed; evidence was mixed with both positive and null findings. Preliminary support was found for effects on mood, pain, nutritional intake and body weight, but not loneliness. All studies had methodological issues and risk of bias was either high or unclear. Conclusions Review findings suggest that interacting with fish in aquariums has the potential to benefit human well-being, although research on this topic is currently limited. Future research should aim to address gaps in the evidence, such as whether and how the type of human-fish interaction can influence well-being outcomes. Researchers should also aim to address the methodological concerns highlighted in this review.

AB - BackgroundMost research into the health benefits of human-animal interaction has focused on species that interact physically with humans, such as dogs. This may be unsuitable for certain populations for reasons including accessibility and the risk of negative consequences to both the person and the animal. However, some research has associated viewing fish in aquariums with positive well-being outcomes; as there is no physical contact with the animal, this form of interaction carries less risk. At present, little is known about the specific benefits of human-fish interaction. ObjectivesTo explore current evidence relating to the psychological and physiological benefits of interacting with fish in aquariums. MethodsSystematic searches were conducted to identify relevant primary research of any design. All forms of interaction were considered, including pet fish ownership and fish aquarium-based interventions. “Non-live” alternatives, such as videos, were also considered. This review was conducted according to a registered protocol (PROSPERO ID: CRD42018090466).ResultsSeventeen studies were included. Two relating to pet fish ownership provided tentative evidence that keeping home aquaria is associated with relaxation. The remaining studies involved novel interactions with fish in home or public aquariums. Outcomes relating to anxiety, relaxation and/or physiological stress were commonly assessed; evidence was mixed with both positive and null findings. Preliminary support was found for effects on mood, pain, nutritional intake and body weight, but not loneliness. All studies had methodological issues and risk of bias was either high or unclear. Conclusions Review findings suggest that interacting with fish in aquariums has the potential to benefit human well-being, although research on this topic is currently limited. Future research should aim to address gaps in the evidence, such as whether and how the type of human-fish interaction can influence well-being outcomes. Researchers should also aim to address the methodological concerns highlighted in this review.

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0220524

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0220524

M3 - Article

VL - 14

JO - PLoS ONE

JF - PLoS ONE

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 7

M1 - e0220524

ER -