Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Preferred Name - First Author

Aiello, Kamille

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Honors Interdisclipinary

Advisor(s)

Debbie Sturm, Ph.D.

Colleen Tennyson, M.D.

William Evans, Ph.D.

Abstract

Transitioning to college is a big change. A change that can be life altering for some students, especially when they realize that transitioning to college also means leaving their beloved companion at home. This research study proposes an Animal Assisted Activity intervention for high achieving first year college students through the Honors College as a way to lower their anxiety and increase their happiness as they adjust to their new environment. The research compared an intervention using therapy dogs from the university counseling center to an intervention using SPCA dogs and a control group to see where the largest difference occurs. Even with results that didn’t favor the researcher’s hypotheses, the meaning came genuinely from the qualitative feedback received from participants. Throughout the course of the research, it became clear that meaning would come from developing a program for these first-year students to integrate into the General Education core of classes each student must take to receive their degree. This program will hopefully contribute to the health of future students at the university.

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