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The effect of a pet's presence upon anxiety during a simulated clinical interview

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Date Issued:
1999
Abstract/Description:
University of Central Florida College of Arts and Sciences Thesis; Recognizing the importance of evolutionary parallels between humans and other animals, researchers make use of animals to better the understanding of people in various fields of study, such as history, ecology, medicine, psychology, and sociology (Levinson, 1978). Boris Levinson (1962) was an early advocate for the inclusion of pets in psychotherapeutic intervention. His theories have been frequently cited in research that has attempted to define the possible benefits associated with utilizing pets as an adjunct in the treatment of disturbed populations. The results of studies with varied populations indicate that a pet's presences can lower a person's anxiety level, positively increase self-concept, stimulate social interaction, provide a source of non-threatening acceptance, improve the prognosis for cardiac patients, and encourage goal-oriented behavior. However, few empirical studies have been conducted to explain the mechanisms responsible for the healthy benefits that have been associated with pet facilitated therapy. The goal of this study was to further identify the variables present in person-pet interactions that are desirable in therapeutic precesses. Thirty undergraduate students were recruited to participate in a 30 minutes simulated clinical interview. It was hypothesized that the 15 subjects in the dog-present experimental group would show significantly lower situational anxiety compared to the 15 subjects experiencing a dog-absent interview. It was also hypothesized that there would be temporal decreases in anxiety for the experimental group, and a greater degree of favorableness felt towards pets. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, et al. 1983), The Pet Attitude Scale (Templer, 1981) and behavioral measures were used to test the hypotheses. Results indicated that the dog's presence had no significant effect upon anxiety, and there were no significant changes in pet attitude. Both groups showed a consistent and significant decrease between pre- and post-interview scores measuring State and Trait Anxiety. the results of this study suggest that pet facilitated therapy has limited applicability with a college population that is typically well adjusted and high functioning. It was suggested that the subjects recruited for this study may not have had a need to utilize the dog's presence for anxiety reduction as might a clinical population.
Title: The effect of a pet's presence upon anxiety during a simulated clinical interview.
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Name(s): Weigand, Kenneth G., Author
Blau, Burt, Committee Chair
Arts and Sciences, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 1999
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: University of Central Florida College of Arts and Sciences Thesis; Recognizing the importance of evolutionary parallels between humans and other animals, researchers make use of animals to better the understanding of people in various fields of study, such as history, ecology, medicine, psychology, and sociology (Levinson, 1978). Boris Levinson (1962) was an early advocate for the inclusion of pets in psychotherapeutic intervention. His theories have been frequently cited in research that has attempted to define the possible benefits associated with utilizing pets as an adjunct in the treatment of disturbed populations. The results of studies with varied populations indicate that a pet's presences can lower a person's anxiety level, positively increase self-concept, stimulate social interaction, provide a source of non-threatening acceptance, improve the prognosis for cardiac patients, and encourage goal-oriented behavior. However, few empirical studies have been conducted to explain the mechanisms responsible for the healthy benefits that have been associated with pet facilitated therapy. The goal of this study was to further identify the variables present in person-pet interactions that are desirable in therapeutic precesses. Thirty undergraduate students were recruited to participate in a 30 minutes simulated clinical interview. It was hypothesized that the 15 subjects in the dog-present experimental group would show significantly lower situational anxiety compared to the 15 subjects experiencing a dog-absent interview. It was also hypothesized that there would be temporal decreases in anxiety for the experimental group, and a greater degree of favorableness felt towards pets. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, et al. 1983), The Pet Attitude Scale (Templer, 1981) and behavioral measures were used to test the hypotheses. Results indicated that the dog's presence had no significant effect upon anxiety, and there were no significant changes in pet attitude. Both groups showed a consistent and significant decrease between pre- and post-interview scores measuring State and Trait Anxiety. the results of this study suggest that pet facilitated therapy has limited applicability with a college population that is typically well adjusted and high functioning. It was suggested that the subjects recruited for this study may not have had a need to utilize the dog's presence for anxiety reduction as might a clinical population.
Identifier: CFR0011928 (IID), ucf:53119 (fedora)
Note(s): 1990-05-01
M.S.
Clinical Psychology
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Electronically reproduced by the University of Central Florida from a book held in the John C. Hitt Library at the University of Central Florida, Orlando.
Subject(s): Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations
Academic
Dissertations
Academic -- Arts and Sciences
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFR0011928
Restrictions on Access: public
Host Institution: UCF

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