Stress Reduction Benefits from Petting Dogs, Cats

Posted on July 18, 2019

Programs that enable students to pet animals to relieve their stress are rather popular in universities, where youths are plagued by work and financial troubles that contribute to their stressful college life. Such programs often involve bringing in cats or dogs from animal shelters to the campus grounds so that students are able to interact with them and recharge themselves.

Researchers from Washington State University investigated the benefits of participating in such events and found that petting domesticated animals can enable college students to experience physiological benefits related to stress relief. 249 college students were recruited for the study and split into four groups.

The first group of participants were able to interact directly with the animals for 10 minutes, while the second group were told to wait for their turn and observe the people in the first group. The third group of participants were shown a slideshow of the animals present at the program and the fourth group was told that they were waitlisted.

At the end of the study, the participants’ saliva samples were collected to test for their cortisol levels. Results revealed that are merely 10 minutes of interacting with the animals can help to reduce cortisol levels, which is a major stress hormone. Students in the first group had significantly less cortisol in their saliva after spending some time playing with the animals.

The effects of these programs on stress levels can prove that they are helpful for improving an individual’s well-being, both physically and mentally. The team of researchers are continuing this study by implementing a four-week animal-assisted stress prevention program and analyzing its impacts.

Category(s):Stress Management

Source material from Science Daily