Evaluating college student interest in pet therapy

  • Adamle K
  • Riley T
  • Carlson T
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Abstract

The first year of college can be extremely stressful, especially for students residing on campus. OBJECTIVE: The authors obtained information from college freshmen about their relationships with pets and investigated interest in a pet therapy program as social support for transient stressful periods. PARTICIPANTS: As part of a university orientation program, 246 college freshman attended 1 of 5 health issues sessions offered during the 2006-2007 academic year. Approximately 50 freshmen attended each session. METHOD: Participants completed a questionnaire at the beginning of the session, followed by a 20-minute presentation about pet therapy that ended with pet therapy visitation. RESULTS: Students identified that visits with certified pet therapy dogs could be beneficial to college freshman during their first year away from home. CONCLUSIONS: These students indicated that a pet therapy program could temporarily fill the absence of previous support systems and be a catalyst for establishing new social relationships.

Author-supplied keywords

  • College students
  • Mental health
  • Pet therapy

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Authors

  • Kathleen Adamle

  • Tracy Riley

  • Tracey Carlson

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