Are Dogs More Likely To Bite You If You’re Anxious?

If you regularly feel anxious, you might be the perfect candidate for a dog bite.

Dog bites in the United Kingdom may be three times more common than official records indicate. One surprising reason for this? People with an emotionally anxious personality appear to be the likeliest recipients of dog bites (and the least likely people to report them), researchers said.

“The only official statistics collected on dog bites  in the U.K. are hospital admissions, not even visits to emergency rooms for treatments,” lead study author Carri Westgarth, a research fellow at the University of Liverpool’s Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, told Live Science in an email. “We have no idea how many people are actually bitten by dogs and how many bites require medical treatment

The questionnaires asked any participants who had been bitten by dogs to elaborate on one biting incident, providing information on how old they were at the time of the bite, their relationship to the dog and whether they sought medical attention afterward. Adult respondents also filled out a 10-item personality test, which helped researchers categorize the participants according to the so-called Big Five personality traits (extroversion, conscientiousness, openness to new experiences, agreeableness and emotional stability).

Right away, the researchers found that the rate of dog-bite incidents reported by Cheshire residents greatly exceeded the national average indicated by official hospital records. “Hospital records show the rate of dog bites is 740 per 100,000 [people] of the population, but the survey responses indicate a rate of 1,873 per 100,000 — nearly three times the official figure,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Spread the love