Next Article in Journal
Sustainable Use of Pesticide Applications in Citrus: A Support Tool for Volume Rate Adjustment
Next Article in Special Issue
Coping with Fear of and Exposure to Terrorism among Expatriates
Previous Article in Journal
Early Desquamating Perineal Erythema in a Febrile Infant: A Characteristic Clinical Feature of Kawasaki Disease
Previous Article in Special Issue
Association between Excessive Use of Mobile Phone and Insomnia and Depression among Japanese Adolescents
Article Menu
Issue 7 (July) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

The Buffer Effect of Therapy Dog Exposure on Stress Reactivity in Undergraduate Students

Department of Psychology, Institute for Stress and Wellbeing Research, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 707;
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stress and Health)
PDF [739 KB, uploaded 30 June 2017]


Stress is an insidious health risk that is commonly reported among university students. While research suggests that dog exposure may facilitate recovery from a stress response, little is known about the buffer effect of dog exposure on the stress response to a future stressor. This study examined whether interaction with a therapy dog could reduce the strength of the physiological stress response when exposed to a subsequent stressor. Sixty-one university students were randomly assigned to either a therapy dog (TD, n = 31) or a no-dog control (C, n = 30) group. The stress response was measured by electrodermal activity (EDA) in response to the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT). Participants also completed questionnaires that assessed pet attitude, general stress levels, and affect. Analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) showed that increase in EDA was significantly more pronounced in the C group than in the TD group (p < 0.01). Pet attitudes did not modulate the buffer effect of therapy dog exposure. Results suggest that therapy dog exposure may buffer the stress response in university students, which has implications for the promotion of a viable stress management program on university campuses. View Full-Text
Keywords: stress; therapy dog; intervention; human-animal interaction stress; therapy dog; intervention; human-animal interaction

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Fiocco, A.J.; Hunse, A.M. The Buffer Effect of Therapy Dog Exposure on Stress Reactivity in Undergraduate Students. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 707.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top