These are the results of the study introduced in the previous paragraph. The words lower ..... than shows the contrast between those who had lived with a pet and those who hadn't. Their blood pressue was lower under stress thus showing that living with a pet can be advantageous.
The important point in this paragraph is the comparison between pet owners and non pet owners connected by the words "compared to".
Pet owners were more likely to survive heart attacks than non pet owners. So we can assume that there may be a causal link between pet ownership and survival rate, and that therefore owning a pet is an advantage.
"The advantages and disadvantages of owning a pet are reasonably obvious. On one hand, pets can provide wonderful companionship, but on the other hand, they cost a lot of money, require considerable time, and have a knack for hunting down your most expensive pair of shoes and chewing them to smithereens.
But over the past couple of decades, there has been considerable interest in whether pets may have additional benefits or drawbacks for humans, particularly with regards to health.
The first significant study in this area was conducted in 1980, which examined survival rates among heart-attack victims. Of the 92 heart-attack victims studied, 28% of pet-owners survived for at least a year, compared to only 6% of non-pet owners. This is quite a stunning finding, and leads me to think that none of the pet-owners had their shoes chewed in their year of recovery.
This study generated a flurry of interest into whether caressing dogs and cats, watching tropical fish in an aquarium, and even stroking a boa-constrictor, may convey health benefits. (The answer is yes to every one of these, particularly if you have high blood pressure). Harold Herzog has produced a nice review of these studies.
My favourite study in this area, and perhaps the most methodologically rigours, was a clinical trial that studied the effects of pet-ownership on 48 stockbrokers with high blood pressure. Once enrolled in the trial, half of the stockbrokers were promptly assigned a pet cat or dog, and the other half were given no pet.
Six-months later the stockbrokers came into the laboratory for further testing, where the experimenters put them in a stressful situation (asking them to give an impromptu speech). The stockbrokers who had spent 6-months with a pet showed a lower increase in blood pressure during the stressful situation (a good thing!) than those who weren’t assigned a pet. Another stunning finding.
But before we rush out and buy a box of kittens for Wall St, I’m afraid to say that for every positive finding in this area, there are other studies finding no health benefits of pet-ownership, or even worse: a detrimental effect.
Take a 2010 study, which found that, far from nurturing heart-attack victims back to health, pets were actually somewhat of a jinx; pet-owners were more likely than non-pet-owners to experience death or readmission to a cardiac hospital within a year of suffering their heart attack (22% vs 14%).
And this for dog-people everywhere: cat ownership provided the strongest association with death or readmission, with 27% not fairing too well in the year after their heart-attack.
Clearly, the science regarding adult health is far from settled, and I urge you to take these findings with a pinch of salt. The household tabby shouldn’t be feeling too nervous on the back of these results." (Whitehouse, n.d.)
This paragraph compares cat ownership with dog ownership. It seems from the study that having a cat is worse for your health than having a dog. The study conluded that the strongest relationship between pet ownership and negative health outcomes was for those possessing a cat. You should look out for these comparison words in these texts in order to clearly undertand these relationships and learn how to use them in your own texts.
Of Pets and Children
The following text lists a number of advantages and disadvantages. It is an excerpt from an article in "The Conversation” by Andrew Whitehouse from the University of Western Australia, and you can access the full article here. Mouse over the page to see how this text is structured.
Advantages and Disadvantages
A positive finding is an advantage (in this context), but the writer is saying there is an equal number of negative findings (for every ..... , there are). A negative finding (result) can be either no health benefits or a detrimental effect. Detrimental meaning that having a pet had a negative effect on the health of the people in the study.
This paragraph begins a description of a study. Note that "rigours" should be "rigorous".
We have seen in this text that there are both advantages and disadvantages to owning a pet, with different studies giving conflicting results. The author advises caution and says the the science is "far from settled", meaning that is it difficult to come to any final conclusion about the benefits or drawbacks of pet ownership.
This is an example of a study which demonstrated a negative effect of pet ownership. Notice the structure "far from ...... were more likely than ... " which shows strong contrast between the expected and actual results. So this paragraph provides evidence of a disadvantage of pet ownership.
Advantage and disadvantage text organisation is used in various types of texts. It rarely constitutes the whole or even the major part of a text, except perhaps in student essays. They are often used in persuasive texts as a way of convincing the reader of some argument. In such texts they are usually strongly weighted for either advantages or disadvantages.
They may be organised in a series of advantage - disadvantage pairs, or as a list of advantages followed by a list of disadvantages. Since they are listed, they follow the norms of enumeration, so you should also be familiar with these. In fact, this form of text organisation can be conidered a sub-category of enumeration. Advantages and disadvantages are not usually just listed. They may also be compared and contrasted so familiarity with this form of text organisation is also useful.
This study refers to the 1980 study mentioned in the previous paragraph. It seems that interaction with various animals "may convey health benefits". So this paragaph, too, claims that there are advantages to interaction with animals.
In this sentence we learn what the text is really all about. "Whether pets may have additional benefits or drawbacks for humans" with regard to health.
"benefits" and "drawbacks" are words often used in these types of texts.
It's clear right from the first sentence that this part of the text deals with advantages and disadvantages, but not all texts are this clear about the type of text organisation the reader can expect. You should try to be as clear as possible and use words like these or similar ones such as benefits and drawbacks.
In the second sentence, the writer uses "On one hand ..... on the other hand" to draw a clear distinction between an advantage (wonderful companionship) and three disadvantages (money, time, shoe destruction).