Complete Question Explanation
Must Be True—CE. The correct answer choice is (C)
This stimulus is a fact set that describes the serious problem of depression among nursing home residents. A recent study regarding the issue considered two categories of nursing home residents: those who developed personal bonds with pets, and those who did not. The study found significantly lower rates of depression in those nursing home residents who had developed personal bonds with pets than those who did not.
In this case, the facts relate to two groups of people that are similar in one way, yet different in others. The similarity between the groups is that they are both comprised of nursing home residents. One difference between the groups is the formation of personal bonds with pets. Among nursing home residents, there is an inverse correlation between the formation of personal bonds with pets and rates of depression. This inverse correlation implies there may be some connection between the presence of such bonds and depression.
Predictably, given the stimulus contained a fact set, this is a Must Be True question. Your prephrase is that the combination of the facts in the stimulus permit the inference that there may be a causal connection between the creation of personal bonds and lower rates of depression. Be careful not to go beyond the evidence by thinking a causal relationship is actually provable from the facts. The correlation between the formation of personal bonds and lower rates of depression suggests there may be a causal relationship involved, but does not prove causality.
Answer choice (A): This answer choice is incorrect, because the stimulus did not contain information about people who are not in nursing homes. So, there is no support for this comparison between nursing home residents and “other individuals.”
Answer choice (B): While the stimulus implied that the formation of personal bonds may be one method to reduce rates of depression, the evidence did not provide support for a statement concerning what is the best method for helping nursing home residents to overcome depression.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. If the formation of personal bonds may reduce rates of depression in nursing homes, as suggested by the stimulus, then it may be the case that depression among nursing home residents may be caused, at least in part, by a lack of personal bonds. Another way of saying this is that depression among nursing home residents may result, at least in part, from a lack of companionship.
Answer choice (D): There are a few problems with this answer choice. The stimulus discussed a correlation between developing personal bonds with pets and significantly lower rates of depression. The term “psychological well-being,” used only in this answer choice, is not supported by the stimulus. Further, even if you were to assume that “psychological well-being” is the same as “not suffering from depression,” this answer would still be incorrect. While there is some indication that developing personal bonds with pets may lower rates of depression, the stimulus does not support the stronger connection implied in this answer choice, that animal companionship is necessary for psychological well-being.
Answer choice (E): This answer choice is incorrect for several reasons. First, it is unsupported that forming personal bonds with pets definitively reduces rates of depression. Also, there is no evidence for the position that lack of companionship is the only risk factor for depression among nursing home residents. Further, even if the formation of personal bonds with pets could eliminate problems relating to depression among nursing home residents, it is speculative to say that nursing home residents with free access to pets would form personal relationships with pets.