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Dog Days of Final Exams: Using Canine-Assisted Therapy to Reduce Stress and Improve Mood Among Community College Students

By Stephanie Quintana, Michelle Borckardt, Tanvi Aditya

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Abstract

The following paper represents research conducted by members of the Collin College chapter of Psi Beta National Honor Society. Psi Beta is the national psychology honor society for two-year colleges whose mission is “promotion and recognition of excellence in scholarship, leadership, research, and community service.” Psi Beta advisors at Collin College teach the methodological essentials of behavioral science to interested Psi Beta members and then mentor them through a multiple-step research process. Specifically, students either work independently or in groups and generate original research questions based on their interests. Students create extensive literature reviews to allow for the formulation of research hypotheses. Where applicable, students create research instruments, collect data, analyze results, and discuss findings through APA paper and poster presentations.

Stephanie Quintana, Tanvi Aditya, and Michelle Borckardt investigated the benefits of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) on a community college campus during a week of final exams. 530 participants volunteered to be assessed through a self-report survey before and after interactions with therapy dogs and their handlers. Results indicated that immediately following the dog therapy sessions, a significant number of participants reported improvement of mood and decrease in stress levels. Students also rated the AAT experience as beneficial, with data further suggesting a positive relationship between the amount of time spent interacting with therapy dogs and increased benefits ratings.

Submitter

Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title Quest
Volume 3
Pages 25
URL https://digitalcommons.collin.edu/quest/vol3/iss1/3/
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Animal-assisted therapies
  3. Animal roles
  4. Dogs
  5. Mammals
  6. moods
  7. open access
  8. Pets and companion animals
  9. Stress
  10. students
  11. Universities and Colleges
Badges
  1. open access