Anxious people have a higher chance of being bitten by a dog, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool in the UK based their findings on a study which involved over 700 people from Cheshire, England. They asked the participants whether they were ever bitten by a dog in their lifetime if they knew the dog beforehand and if they sought out medical treatment after the potential bite.
Nearly a quarter of respondents said that they have been bitten. Out of the 301 individuals who got chomped by a canine, a third required some degree of medical treatment while one person had to be admitted to the hospital.
The study found that men were twice as likely to report a bite than women, while dog owners were over three times more likely. In addition, 55 percent of the victims had been bitten by a dog who they had never met before the encounter.
Researchers found a common theme among the people who were bitten as they were less emotionally stable and more anxious.
“This study demonstrates that the most severe dog bites, of highest public health significance, are thankfully a small proportion of overall bites that occur,” the authors wrote.
The researchers also noted that most bites came from previously unknown canines, which throws a wrench in the theory that most bites typically come from familiar dogs.
In the study, they explained that if the number of bites reported Cheshire were extrapolated to the general population of the UK, it would translate to 18.7 bites per every one thousand people annually. This number is higher than official UK estimates.
While the study itself was based on a relatively small group, the results echo similar research conducted in the past.
Researchers couldn’t find a conclusive answer to why anxious people have more dog bites on them than others. There are a number of theories that could explain these occurrences. Dogs may find certain human behaviors threatening and stressful triggering an aggressive reaction from the canine. Another theory would be that anxious people gravitate towards similar personalities thus acquiring anxious dogs.
Image Source: Pixabay