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Christine Kivlen, PhD, OTR/L; Allison Quevillon, MSOT, OTR/L, CLT; Dani Pasquarelli, MS, OTR/L


Students continue to face an increase in mental health concerns related to their role of being college students, including increased academic expectations; organizational and time management demands; and, often, a transition to an independent living situation. Mental health symptoms, such as stress and anxiety, have negatively affected students’ academic performance more than any other factors in college students’ lives, and nontraditional inexpensive interventions that can reach a large number of students, such as animal assisted intervention, continue to be explored. Thus, the researchers in this study investigated the effects of canine assisted education (CAE) on students’ stress and anxiety, distractibility, and participation in the natural environment of a college classroom. A quantitative quasi-experimental, one-group pre-test/post-test design was implemented in which participants completed a pre-test survey, experienced 5 weeks of CAE, and then completed a post-test survey. Wilcoxon signed-rank analysis revealed a significant effect for stress and anxiety (p = .033) and participation (p =.009). Findings add to the body of literature attesting to the efficacy of CAE in support student well-being and optimizing learning conditions for students.


The authors declare that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.