VIDEO: Therapy dogs makes students happier, study finds

UBC researchers say students preparing for finals benefit from sessions

Does your stress level come down when you see a cute puppy?

A study from UBC released Monday suggests one-on-one time with a dog really does make students less stressed.

Therapy dogs for students cramming for final exams have become more and more popular on university campuses lately, but up until now, the effects haven’t been formally evaluated.

“Therapy dog sessions have a measurable, positive effect on the wellbeing of university students, particularly on stress reduction and feelings of negativity,” said assistant psychology researcher Emma Ward-Griffin.

The team surveyed 246 students before and after they attended a drop-in therapy dog session where they pet, cuddled and chatted with up to a dozen dogs.

The participants reported feeling more relaxed, more happy, energetic and satisfied with life right after spending time with the dogs, compared to a control group who did not play with the animals.

While the feelings of satisfaction didn’t last, some positive effects did.

“We found that, even 10 hours later, students still reported slightly less negative emotion, feeling more supported, and feeling less stressed,” said study co-author and professor emeritus of psychology Stanley Coren.


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