An exploratory randomised controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of different duration of canine-assisted interventions in higher education students

Article


Manville, K, Coulson, M and Reynolds, G. 2023. An exploratory randomised controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of different duration of canine-assisted interventions in higher education students. Human-Animal Interactions. 2023. https://doi.org/10.1079/hai.2023.0038
TypeArticle
TitleAn exploratory randomised controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of different duration of canine-assisted interventions in higher education students
AuthorsManville, K, Coulson, M and Reynolds, G.
Abstract

The aim of this study was to explore whether different durations of canine-assisted intervention (CAI) influenced the beneficial effects of CAI on anxiety, stress, depression, and the well-being of higher education (HE) students. Eighty-eight participants took part in an exploratory randomised control trial (RCT) and were assigned to the 2, 5, and 10-min CAI groups who interacted with a canine, or a control group who watched an unrelated slideshow. Pre- and post-intervention anxiety, stress, depression, and well-being levels were measured. Additionally, the type of interaction between humans and canines was recorded as well as participants’ views of the canines’ neoteny (juvenile features) to explore whether interaction activity and canine features have an impact on the beneficial positive effects of CAI. The results showed no differences in the duration of CAI in reducing anxiety, stress, and depression, meaning a 2-min CAI session was as effective as a 10-min session. The results also found individual intervention activities between humans and canines did not predict a reduction in anxiety, stress, depression, or an increase in general well-being. Additionally, a negative correlation was found between the cuteness of the canine and anxiety, and between the cuddliness of the canine and stress, although these results should be interpreted with caution due to high canine trait scores. Overall, this study used a CAI and control group to explore the differences between a single 2, 5, and 10-min CAI sessions in HE students and demonstrated a 2-min CAI session was as effective as a longer 10-min CAI session in supporting the mental health of HE students, by reducing anxiety, stress, and depression levels in the treatment group.

Keywordsanimal-assisted activities; canine-assisted intervention; HE students; mental health; anxiety; stress; depression
Sustainable Development Goals3 Good health and well-being
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
LanguageEnglish
PublisherCABI
JournalHuman-Animal Interactions
ISSN
Electronic2957-9538
Publication dates
Print01 Jan 2023
Online07 Nov 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Oct 2023
Submitted17 May 2023
Deposited20 Nov 2023
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
License
Copyright Statement

© The Authors 2023. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long the use is non-commercial and you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1079/hai.2023.0038
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