Pet arrival may help individuals with autism develop prosocial behavior

August 1, 2012

The introduction of a pet can have a positive effect on autistic children's behavior, as reported in research published Aug. 1 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The authors of the study, led by Marine Grandgeorge of the Hospital Research Center of Brest in France, found that participants who received a pet scored higher in two categories, "offering to share" and "offering comfort," a few years after the pet arrived than they did before having a . Participants who had lived with pets since birth, on the other hand, showed generally weaker relationships with their pets.

Both of these categories reflect prosocial behaviors, suggesting that individuals with autism can develop these types of behaviors in the appropriate context, the authors write.

Explore further: The truth about cats and dogs: Pets are good for mental health of 'everyday people'

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