The psychological and cardiovascular influence of a friendly, unfamiliar dog on a group of 17 male students was compared to a group of men (19) who did not have access to the dog, during a stressor. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured during 4 test conditions (rest, preparation, speech task, recovery). State-anxiety was measured before and after the preparation and speech task. Subjects from the experimental group(E) but not from the control group(C) interacted with a dog during the preparation and speech tasks. The preparation and speech tasks caused statistically significant increases in cardiovascular parameters (blood pressure, heart rate) (F(12,22) = 17.60; p = 0.000), and state-anxiety (E-group: ¯xsta1 = 29.8; ¯xsta 2 = 47.9; t = -6.12; df = 16; p = 0.000, C-group: ¯xsta1 = 31.4; ¯xsta2 = 47,0; t = -5.68; df = 18; p = 0.000). No significant differences were found between the control and the experimental group with regard to state-anxiety anxiety (¯xc =15.6; ¯xe =-18.2; t = 0.63; df = 34; p = 0.533), blood pressure and heart rate (F(4,30) = 1.18; p = 0.338), even after controlling for the effects of daily stress (F(4,29) =1.427; p = 0.250). It is concluded that a friendly but unfamiliar dog has no significant psychological or cardiovascular effect on male students during a speech task in a laboratory setting. Possibly the stress of the speech task and the laboratory setting overrided the influence of the pet.
|Author Address||Multidisciplinary Research Institute on the Relation between Humans and Animals, University of Utrecht, Netherlands.|
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