Feeling stressed out? New research suggests the benefit of getting a pet for college students:

Students who chose to live with at least one dog, one cat, or a combination of the two were less likely to report feeling lonely and depressed; something they directly attributed to their beloved pet.

While previous research has shown that pets help many specific populations (such as people with a chronic illness, senior citizens, and people who live alone), this is the first study to show this effect is also present in young adults.

Freshmen and sophomores, especially, are at risk for loneliness and stress, as they are just establishing their college social network. And while online social networks help the transition for many, face-to-face friends are often just as important to help a person feel less alone.

A cat, dog, or a combination of the two can help reduce the feelings of loneliness and accompanying stress.

So if you’re still wondering to get that college student for Christmas, consider a pet! (keeping in mind, of course, that most dorms don’t allow them, which is a shame given this study’s findings).

Read the full article: Pets Relieve College Stress