Forty-eight students engaged with a therapy dog for 15 minutes during finals week to evaluate the effect on stress. Psychological (Perceived Stress Scale, visual analog scales) and physiologic stress (vital signs, salivary cortisol) measures were collected before and after the intervention. Paired t tests showed significant reductions in all psychological and physiologic measures except diastolic blood pressure. This supports animal-assisted therapy as an effective stress management strategy for nursing and other college students.
Authors Affiliations: Associate Professor (Dr Delgado), Clinical Associate Professor (Dr Toukonen), and Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Dr Wheeler), Cleveland State University School of Nursing, Ohio.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Correspondence: Dr Delgado, School of Nursing, Cleveland State University, JH 258, 2121 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for publication: July 18, 2017
Published ahead of print: August 28, 2017