Conducted over three years, the study involved 309 students and examined their executive function - the ability to plan, organize, motivate, concentrate and memorize.
The students were assigned one of three stress-management programs involving combinations of human-animal interaction over a period of four weeks. Stressed-out students not only showed cognitive improvements, but that these improvements were retained six weeks afterwards.
Associate Professor Patricia Pendry, from WSU's Department of Human Development, conducted this study following on from her previous research that established petting dogs for just 10 minutes reduced students’ stress in the short term.
Traditional stress-relief programs, involving a talk or demonstration from an expert where students take notes are too akin to university lectures and only exacerbate their stress, according to Prof Pendry.
Petting a dog helps the students to relax, cope better and feel calmer and this in turn improves their ability to think, learn, set goals, concentrate and remember what they are learning.
If you’d like to understand how animal therapy can help you to alleviate stress and support your general wellbeing, or if you’d like to find one of the many other therapies to help with stress, consider booking a free discovery call with one of our qualified practitioners by clicking on the image below.
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