The benefits of animal-assisted interventions (AAI) involving animals in therapy are widely accepted. The presence of animals in therapy can decrease a patient's reservation about therapy and promote a sense of comfort and rapport during the therapy process. Using survey data from college students (n = 152) attending a large public four-year institution, this study is the first to investigate the benefits of virtual animal stimuli during academic advising appointments. It posits that exposure to virtual animal stimuli can influence positive mental health and well-being in academic advising settings. Specifically, the research questions explored how different types of video content influence students' affect and how virtual animal stimuli impact students' perception of their advisor and university. College students were randomly assigned to watch one of four types of virtual stimuli (wild animals, companion animals, nature, and a control) prior to their advising session. Subjective measures were collected at baseline and after the advising session. Results indicated animal stimuli increase positive affect, and companion animal stimuli influence the student's perception of the advisor. This study supports the notion that companion animal videos positively impact students' well-being and interactions with their advisors and may have broader implications beyond the academic setting.
|Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA.School of Public Policy and Leadership, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA.
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