Afraid of the dog? More stable psyche can prevent dog bites

Afraid of the dog? More stable psyche can prevent dog bites

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Your own personality influences whether a dog bites or not

According to an English study, fearful people are more likely to bite than dogs with a more stable psyche. In an observational study, scientists from the University of Liverpool's Institute of Epidemiology investigated the frequency with which people are bitten by dogs and the factors that lead to a bite. More than 6,500 patients are hospitalized annually in the UK after being bitten by a dog. However, the researchers suspect that the number of unreported cases is three times higher.

The scientists interviewed 694 people from 385 households in Northern England, where the number of dog bites is highest, on this topic. In addition to information about how many people actually bitten by dogs and how many of the resulting injuries were treated medically, the researchers also looked for possible reasons for the bite. Various factors played a role, such as whether the bitten dogs knew the dog or whether it was even their own dog. The results were recently published in the journal "Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health".

Men are bitten more often than women

The surveys were conducted in the rural city of Cheshire in England. For each participant, the researchers also determined the type of person using a so-called Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI). This test can determine certain aspects of personality, including emotional stability and neuroticism. This enabled the scientists to identify possible characteristics that could influence the risk of being bitten. One in four respondents said they had been bitten at least once. Men were bitten almost twice as often as women.

High number of unreported dogs

People who owned several dogs were bitten more than three times as often as people who did not have dogs. However, 55 percent of respondents said they had been bitten by a dog they did not know.

According to hospital records, 740 dogs are bitten by 100,000 people. But the survey found a rate of 1873 per 100,000 people. That is almost three times the official number. Accordingly, only every third dog bite is treated by a doctor. Only a small proportion of 0.6 percent of those bitten had to be admitted to the hospital.

Anxious or neurotic people are more likely to be bitten

The evaluation of the TIPI test showed a possible connection between personality traits and the risk of being bitten. Based on the test results, the researchers suspect that the more anxious and neurotic an individual is, the higher the risk of being bitten by a dog. However, since this is only an observational study, the researchers warn that no clear general conclusions can be drawn on this topic.

The results apply only to households in Northern England and may not be transferable to other areas. In addition, potential influencing factors such as gender, age and breed of the biting dog were not taken into account.

Still, the results are insightful

"Although this was a small study, the results are instructive and provide significantly improved indicators of the true exposure to dog bites in public health," said lead researcher Dr. Carri Westgarth, an expert on dog behavior at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Infectious Diseases, released a press release on the study results. The discovered connection between the victim's personality and the risk of being bitten requires further investigation and opens up new considerations when designing future prevention programs against dog bites.

According to Westgarth, previously assumed risk factors need to be re-evaluated. So far, for example, the prevailing belief has been that most dog bites come from familiar dogs. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: How To Stop Dog Fear Aggression (August 2022).