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The influence of dog-ownership on physical activity and other outcomes in those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Ref: SHLS20037 Roberts

Exercise and physical activity are important in preventing and managing long term conditions. Walking time and standing time have been shown to be reduced in patients with severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Regular physical activity in those with COPD is related to reduced mortality and hospital admissions.

Walking the dog, leads to increased physical activity in dog owners compared to non-dog owners in healthy populations. Human-animal interactions can also provide social support, and help reduce loneliness, improve quality of life, mood and social interaction. Pet owners are less likely to report loneliness and frequent dog walkers report a high sense of community.

This studentship will explore the influence of owning a dog in people with COPD, in terms of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, mood, and social interaction. The studentship will explore the possibility of both positive and negative influences of dog ownership. This study will use participants who have a diagnosis of COPD, and who have been referred or have just started pulmonary rehabilitation, and will use a mixed-methods approach.

Glasgow Caledonian University’s research is based around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, addressed via three societal challenge areas of Inclusive Societies, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Environments. The successful candidate will be part of the research activity of the Ageing Well Research Group (, a multidisciplinary group with a wide range of expertise in physical activity, rehabilitation, psychology and research methods.

The successful applicant will have a minimum of a first degree (2:1 or equivalent) or a Masters degree in a relevant health subject. An interest in physical activity and long term conditions, and previous experience of mixed methods or quantitative research methodology is desirable. Candidates are requested to write a 1000-word overview of the literature around COPD and physical activity as part of the application process.

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