Date of Award
Campus Access Thesis
College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences
Erin Mueller, PhD
Using companion animals as a tool in healthcare and therapy is underutilized despite the empirical and anecdotal evidence of positive emotional and physical support. Care involving animal companionship is usually not initially prescribed; however, it has been shown to influence people of specific demographics (e.g. the elderly, children with learning disabilities, terminally ill patients) in a positive manner. In this study, I analyzed the effects of animals on a general population of undergraduate student volunteers. The experimental group completed a survey about their stress and happiness levels following a neutral narrative, and then a stressful scenario was read. As the participants dwelled on their stress, an animal was introduced to the participants; they interacted with the dog and then completed out the post-test survey. A comparison group experienced the same session only without the introduction of the animal. The data were analyzed regarding the impact of the animal on perceived stress and well-being and to assess whether having the animal there for support would alleviate some of the anxiety the stress caused and make the participants happier. There was a significant difference between the experimental group (M = 15.19, SD =2.00) and the comparison group (M =9.42, SD = 3.34) on follow-up measures of stress (p < .01). The animal seemed to relieve stress in the experimental group while the control group was unchanged.
CU Commons Citation
Silva, Kelsey Marie, "The Effects of Companion Animals and the Benefit which Ensues: Animals Helping Human Happiness" (2012). Undergraduate Theses. 73.