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Article

Randomized Trial Examining Effects of Animal Assisted Intervention and Stress Related Symptoms on College Students’ Learning and Study Skills

1
Department of Human Development, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
2
Center for Human-Animal Interaction, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061909
Received: 13 February 2020 / Revised: 6 March 2020 / Accepted: 11 March 2020 / Published: 15 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Companion Animals on Public Health)
Animal Visitation Programs (AVPs) targeting college students’ stress and academic success have increased, despite limited research on academic outcomes. This randomized controlled trial (N = 349) examined the effects of incorporating levels of Human–animal Interaction (HAI) (0%, 50% or 100%) with therapy dogs in a four-week academic stress management program. Conditions included (1) Academic Stress Management (ASM) content only (0% HAI), (2) Human–animal Interaction only (100% HAI) and (3) equal combinations of ASM content and HAI (50% HAI). Intention-to-treat (ITT) analyses examined the effects of students’ risk status (N = 146; depression, anxiety, perceived stress, worry) and treatment condition on students’ learning and study strategies at posttest and follow-up. The results showed interactions between condition and risk status demonstrating higher posttest levels of WILL (i.e., anxiety, attitude, motivation) (Β = 0.582, p = 0.005) and SELFREGULATION (i.e., concentration, self-testing, study aids, time management) (Β = 0.501, p = 0.031) for at-risk students receiving equal combinations of HAI and content presentations. Moderation effects remained at follow-up (Β = 0.626, p = 0.005; Β = 0.630, p = 0.007). At-risk students receiving only HAI (100%) also showed higher levels of WILL at posttest (Β = 0.481, p = 0.021) and follow up (Β = 0.490, p = 0.038). University administrators should consider providing at-risk students with targeted programs with varying levels of HAI and ASM content, depending on the targeted academic outcome. View Full-Text
Keywords: university-based animal-assisted intervention; academic skills; risk status university-based animal-assisted intervention; academic skills; risk status
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pendry, P.; Carr, A.M.; Gee, N.R.; Vandagriff, J.L. Randomized Trial Examining Effects of Animal Assisted Intervention and Stress Related Symptoms on College Students’ Learning and Study Skills. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1909. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061909

AMA Style

Pendry P, Carr AM, Gee NR, Vandagriff JL. Randomized Trial Examining Effects of Animal Assisted Intervention and Stress Related Symptoms on College Students’ Learning and Study Skills. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(6):1909. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061909

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pendry, Patricia, Alexa M. Carr, Nancy R. Gee, and Jaymie L. Vandagriff. 2020. "Randomized Trial Examining Effects of Animal Assisted Intervention and Stress Related Symptoms on College Students’ Learning and Study Skills" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 6: 1909. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061909

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