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Methodological issues in studying the anxiety-reducing effects of animals: reflections from a pediatric dental study

By A. Schwartz, G. Patronek

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Abstract

This article reports observations made during a study investigating the role of a therapy dog in reducing anxiety in urban children visiting the dentist in a dental clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The design and execution of the study were affected by methodological issues such as the reaction of urban children to the dog in the clinic, the tools used to measure anxiety in the children, the age and pet-ownership status of the children and the personality of the therapy dog. Suggestions made for researchers designing similar studies include allowing children to become comfortable with the therapy dog before beginning formal data collection, working with younger children who have made fewer visits to the dentist and using or developing more accurate tools for measuring behavioural and physiological anxiety.

Date 2002
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 15
Issue 4
Pages 290-299
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279302786992432
Language English
Author Address Center for Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA.angelaschwartz@hotmail.com
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Tags
  1. Anxiety
  2. Children
  3. Developed countries
  4. Dogs
  5. Human-animal relationships
  6. Mammals
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Methodologies
  9. Methods
  10. New England
  11. North America
  12. OECD countries
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Pets and companion animals
  15. Primates
  16. Relationships
  17. Social psychology and social anthropology
  18. therapeutics
  19. therapy
  20. United States of America
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed