University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Humans and animals have been companions for ages but that relationship and its benefits have only begun to be explored. Recently, animal assisted therapies have been used to improve both psychological and physiological wellbeing. One of the most popular therapies uses dogs. There are many research studies on the effects of therapy dogs on children and adults with results that have found that the companionship of a dog significantly decreases their stress levels in many different situations, including health care facilities. I investigated the effects of therapy dogs on adults’ anxiety before going into day surgery. Participants were patients from the Erlanger Baroness Surgical Ambulatory Care Unit (SACU). Four conditions were compared to examine the effects of dogs on the patients’ stress: therapy dog and handler team, stuffed dog and handler, a person only, or no person or dog. Before and after these visits the heart rate and blood pressure of the patient was taken. Patients also completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory short form (STAI) and a brief demographics survey. I found no change in blood pressure or heart rate in any of the conditions. I did find a statistically significant difference between the no person/no dog condition and any other intervention for the STAI scores, indicating that any intervention reduced anxiety. I also found that the stuffed dog significantly reduced anxiety as compared to no visitor. These results have implications for the effects of dog therapy on medical patients and provide avenues for future research.
B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
Anxiety; Preoperative education; Preoperative care; Human comfort; Dogs-- Therapeutic use
Royer, Morgan, "The effect of therapy dogs on preoperative anxiety" (2019). Honors Theses.