This evidence-based practice change pilot project explored college student perceptions of the efficacy of an animal visitation program (AVP) toward reducing perceived stress. Using a quantitative, longitudinal pre- and post-intervention design, a convenience sample of students from a Vermont college were recruited to attend seven-weekly, 90-minute AVP meetings where they interacted with dogs in a casual environment, while practicing mindfulness techniques. Participants completed the Perceived Stress Survey (PSS-10) pre-, intra-, and post-intervention to measure student perceived stress; and the Center for the Study of Animal Wellness Pet Bonding Scale – adapted (CSAWPBS) intra-and post-intervention to measure perceived attachment to the dogs. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed a significant difference between measures on the PSS-10 (P = 0.02) indicating that student perceived stress decreased significantly over time. The CSAWPBS increased slightly; yet showed no significant difference between intra-and post-measures, thus, suggesting that while interactions with the dogs did increase positive emotions over time, students experienced limited attachment to the dogs. These findings suggest that an AVP program may be an effective intervention to reduce perceived stress in college students.
|Degree||Doctor of Nursing Practice|
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