Date of Completion

Spring 4-21-2023

Thesis Advisor(s)

Jenifer Nadeau

Honors Major

Animal Science

Disciplines

Animal Studies | Educational Psychology | Social Work

Abstract

Animal-Assisted therapy is a form of goal-based intervention where an animal is a part of the treatment process. This study evaluated two different interventions that use animal-assisted therapy practices in educational settings. The first intervention studied was a UConn IDEA Grant project titled “Promoting Positive Well-Being Among Adolescent Girls of Color Using an Animal Care Framework”. Results were analyzed using a two-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), fitting separate models to each grade, and chi-squared analysis. There was no significant impact of the intervention on increasing student knowledge of the content covered in the program The second intervention studied was the UConn Paws to Relax program. Results were analyzed using a formal unpaired two-sample t-test. There was a significant impact of the intervention on reducing students’ stress levels. Additional research into how to measure and track the impact of animal-assisted therapy interventions is warranted, as there is still no true understanding of the mechanisms of change of the human-animal connection.

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