Posted by & filed under Animal Behavior Studies, Child Development, Introduction To Psychology, Personality, Psychological Disorders and Therapy, Psychology Update, Stress and Health Psychology.


How Therapy Dogs Can Help Kids With Stress Relief

A new study suggests that spending time with therapy dogs may help lower children’s stress levels even more than relaxation exercises.



This is a very personal (to the children)  and helpful study that examines whether an animal companion can be helpful to children in the reduction of anxiety and stress.  A study (active link) published on Wednesday shines a light on that powerful child-canine connection. It found that twice-weekly sessions with a dog and its handler significantly lowered children’s levels of cortisol — the body’s stress hormone — which they measured through saliva samples. The intervention appeared to be more effective than guided relaxation sessions… Our study shows, for the first time, that dog-assisted interventions can indeed lead to lower stress in children, with and without special educational needs, over a typical school term,” said Kerstin Meints, a professor in developmental psychology at the University of Lincoln in England, and one of the study’s researchers.”  

This study is useful for Psychology students in not only demonstrating how a therapy companion animal can be helpful, but also in looking and understanding the methodology of the study.  The article clearly explains how the study was conducted so that students can get a perspective on how research is done.  The authors of the study also point out how the one study can generate further studies to provide more data and a greater understanding of the topic.  There is a live link in the paragraph above that will lead to the journal study that this NY Times article is based upon.



New York Times, June 15, 2022, by Catherine Pearson



(Available as audio in addition to the text.)


(Tiny URL)



•What was the rationale for this study? What prompted the researchers to conduct a study like this?

•What were the results of the study?  The researchers plan future studies — what do they want to learn?

•(advanced question)  How was the study conducted?  What was the hypothesis?  Can you determine the independent and dependent variables?  Is there a control group? 


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