Therapy Dogs Improve Thinking Skills In Stressed-out Students, New Study Finds


Mental Health News: Researchers found that petting therapy dogs improved thinking and planning skills more effectively than programs that included traditional stress-management approaches, in stressed-out college students.

Researchers at Washington State University randomly assigned 309 students to one of three academic stress-management programs including different combinations of human-animal interaction and evidenced-based academic stress management.

“We saw that students who were most at risk ended up having most improvements in executive functioning (the ability to plan, organise, motivate, concentrate, memorize, etc.) in the human-animal interaction condition. These results remained when we followed up six weeks later,” said Patricia Pendry, associate professor in WSU’s Department of Human Development.

The study published in the journal AERA Open demonstrated that human-animal interaction programs help struggling students think about their stressors, relax and cope with these stressors rather than become overwhelmed. Petting animals help them think, set goals, stay motivated, concentrate and remember what they are learning.

To Know More You May Refer To

Pendry, P., Carr, A. M., Vandagriff, J. L., & Gee, N. R. (2021). Incorporating Human–Animal Interaction Into Academic Stress Management Programs: Effects on Typical and At-Risk College Students’ Executive Function. AERA Open.

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