Faculty Publications

Title

Physiological responses by college students to a dog and a cat: Implications for pet therapy

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

North American Journal of Psychology

Volume

10

Issue

3

First Page

519

Last Page

528

Abstract

The effects of physical contact with a dog and a cat on blood pressure and pulse among male and female college students were examined. The final sample consisted of 62 participants (28 males and 34 females). It was tentatively hypothesized that participants would show a reduction in blood pressure while handling both a dog and a cat. It was also speculated that male and female participants would react differently to a dog versus a cat. There were no significant blood pressure or pulse differences in response to a dog vs. a cat, nor were there significant gender differences although females generally had a lower blood pressure than males. There were no significant changes in blood pressure or pulse while participants held an animal, but a significant decrease in diastolic pressure occurred immediately following holding an animal. Results partially support previous findings of a reduction in blood pressure associated with animal contacts. Implications for pet therapy were discussed. © NAJP.

Original Publication Date

12-1-2008

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