This study had two major purposes. The first was to determine if therapy dogs played a significant role in helping students reduce the amount of stress they were experiencing while they were studying for their end of the semester final exams. Research suggests that when individuals are experiencing high levels of stress, they can experience some relief by interacting with a therapy dog or calm companion animal (Astroino et al., 2004; Bell, 2013). There is little data however on the impact in academic settings. This study sought to examine whether the therapy dogs had a significant impact on students’ stress levels during final exam time.
The second purpose was to examine if there was a gender difference in perceived stress levels during final exams and if the interaction with the therapy dogs played a stronger role in helping one gender reduce their stress levels compared to the other. Research suggests that during stressful situations, females tend to report experiencing more intense stress-related symptoms because they are more emotionally involved in the stressor(s) compared to males (Carpenter, Kelly, Proce, & Tyrka, 2008; Lloyd, Turner, & Wheaton, 1995). Research also suggests that interaction with a therapy dog can help one relax during a stressful situation, regardless of gender (Barker, Knisely, McCain, Pandurangi, & Schubert, 2010).
Mason N McLary
|Publisher||Texas State University|
|Location of Publication||Austin, TX|