Companion Robotic Pets and Older Adults


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This research will assess the effect of companion robotic pets on the wellbeing of older adults and their family caregivers.

Study Overview

Start Date
February 15, 2024
Completion Date
December 31, 2024
Date Posted
February 7, 2024
Accepts Healthy Volunteers?


Full Address
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, United States


Minimum Age (years)
Eligibility Criteria
Inclusion Criteria:

Participating in Family Caregiver Support Program or OPTIONS Program administered by Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging
Provide unpaid family or friend caregiver support for at least 6 months
Older person aged 50+
Able to provide verbal informed consent

Exclusion Criteria:

Uncomfortable with robot pet companion in home
Family Caregiver < 18 years age

Study Contact Info

Study Contact Name
Steven M Albert, PhD
Study Contact Email
Study Contact Phone

Contact Listings Owner Form

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Other Details

FDA Regulated Drug?
FDA Regulated Device?
Detailed Description
Social robot pets have been shown to have a positive impact on age-related physical, cognitive, emotional, and social challenges that affect independence and quality of life. These "pets" are designed to interact with people as a real pet might. They purr when stroked, make eye contact, have a heartbeat, turn toward a person when touched, are warm, and appear lifelike. Does introduction of such a pet reduce loneliness or promote engagement in older adults with cognitive or physical disability?

This research will determine if:

Older adults with disabilities engage with such robotic companions;
Placing a robotic pet in a home enhances mood and positive affect in older people;
Caregivers to these adults find the robots beneficial for their own mood and time use.

In a single-blind randomized controlled trial over 6-8 weeks, we hypothesize that older adults in the intervention arm will engage with the pets and show benefit in mood as reported by family caregivers.
NCTid (if applicable)