Examining the Effects of Animal-Assisted Activities Against Standard Treatment in a University Setting

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Elizabeth Spruin
Sanjidah Islam
Tracey Wornast
Tammy Dempster


The wellbeing of university students has become a global issue in recent years, with the rise of students seeking help for their mental health, the demand for such services has increased exponentially, leading many Universities to struggle in meeting these growing demands. With research in the area manly focused on formal methods of student support, the current study explores the use of more informal sources of support. 100 university students who had attended a standard informal student support session (known as Chooseday Chill) or a wellbeing dog session, were asked to complete a questionnaire measuring their anxiety and overall wellbeing. Results indicated that when compared to the standard support, students who attended the wellbeing dog sessions reported significantly lower levels of anxiety and higher levels of wellbeing at the end of the sessions. The authors discuss the practical implications of these findings for treatment in Higher Education.


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