Should Pet Therapy Be Effective At Alleviating Stress And Anxiety Through Emotional And Physiological Support?

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Pet therapy is more effective at alleviating stress and anxiety through emotional and physiological support than other therapies. Pet therapy has been shown to improve the mood of an individual by reducing stress in a high stress environment such as a hospital, as shown by Creating a Therapeutic and Healing Environment with a Pet Therapy, a study by Dr. Amanda Coakley, program designed around an existing pet therapy program. The study set out to evaluate the effectiveness of pet therapy programs in improving “behavioral, and mood outcomes and experiences of hospitalized patients” and hypothesized that “patients who received… pet therapy visit[s] would have lower vital signs, less pain, more energy, and better mood”. The study measured…show more content…
Karen Allen, multiple trials were conducted to answer a similar question. The first trial involved three groups: participants with a friend, participants with a pet, and the control group which involved a participant, but neither a friend nor a pet. Participants from each group were asked to solve complex arithmetic problems. The results indicate that the blood pressure of individuals who solved the arithmetic problems in front of their friends “increased on average from 120/80mmHg to 155/100”. While those who “had only their pets present… increased slightly to 125/83mmHg”. In addition, the participants of the study who had pets present were less likely to give up on the arithmetic problems, performed faster, and were more accurate than those whose friends were present and the control group. The findings of Allen’s first trial are supported by a similar study by Dr. Robert Matchock to determine “if the presence of a dog… could attenuate the [heart rate] and cortisol response during a social stressor”. During Dr. Matchock’s study, The presence of a dog attenuates cortisol and heart rate in the Trier Social Test compared to human friends, the participants filled out the most recent revision of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory to measure state anxiety as well as trait anxiety. All participants were tasked with preparing for, and subsequently participating in a mock interview for an

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