Mentor/s

Dr. Yeater and Dr. Melzer

Participation Type

Poster

Abstract

The popularity of Animal Assisted Activity (AAA) programs are on the rise, especially in institutions such as universities. These programs are used as a therapeutic approach to combat students’ stress but little research has been done to investigate the effectiveness of these programs. The current study attempts to explore the possible benefits of AAA programs using questionnaires and salivary cortisol analysis to assess student stress levels before and after exposure to therapy dogs on campus. Student participants were given a saliva swab to collect saliva samples for 1 minute. Then the students were asked to complete two surveys; the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES). They were randomly assigned a 5- or 10- minute period to interact with the therapy dogs. Immediately after the interaction with therapy dogs a second saliva sample was collected, and then the individuals were given post PSS and GSES surveys to complete 48 hours after exposure. The saliva samples were analyzed using the salivary cortisol ELISA kit. It was predicted that there would be a marked decrease in salivary cortisol levels, increased self-efficacy and decreased perceived stress levels after exposure to therapy dogs. Preliminary results show some support for these predictions.

College and Major available

Biology, Psychology

Location

Digital Commons

Start Day/Time

4-24-2020 2:00 PM

End Day/Time

4-24-2020 4:00 PM

Students' Information

Alexa Camacho- Biology major and Chemistry minor, graduating 2020

Vanessa Vizcarrondo- Psychology and Health Science major, graduating 2020

Jordan Devlin- Psychology major, graduating 2020

Brenden Berger- Psychology major and Management minor, graduating 2020

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Apr 24th, 2:00 PM Apr 24th, 4:00 PM

Therapy Dogs as a Wellness Incentive for Stress Management on a College Campus

Digital Commons

The popularity of Animal Assisted Activity (AAA) programs are on the rise, especially in institutions such as universities. These programs are used as a therapeutic approach to combat students’ stress but little research has been done to investigate the effectiveness of these programs. The current study attempts to explore the possible benefits of AAA programs using questionnaires and salivary cortisol analysis to assess student stress levels before and after exposure to therapy dogs on campus. Student participants were given a saliva swab to collect saliva samples for 1 minute. Then the students were asked to complete two surveys; the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES). They were randomly assigned a 5- or 10- minute period to interact with the therapy dogs. Immediately after the interaction with therapy dogs a second saliva sample was collected, and then the individuals were given post PSS and GSES surveys to complete 48 hours after exposure. The saliva samples were analyzed using the salivary cortisol ELISA kit. It was predicted that there would be a marked decrease in salivary cortisol levels, increased self-efficacy and decreased perceived stress levels after exposure to therapy dogs. Preliminary results show some support for these predictions.