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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Georgia State Researcher Finds Dog Therapy Can Help Stressed College Students

Dogs can be effective partners in helping college counseling centers work with students who seek help for feelings of anxiety and loneliness, according to a study co-authored by a member of the faculty of Georgia State University’s School of Public Health.


The study of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) found significant decreases in self-reported anxiety and loneliness after an AAT session, and interaction with the dog, a German Shepherd named Sophie, was found to be the most “impactful” element of the intervention.

The paper, “A Pilot Study Assessing the Effectiveness of an Animal-Assisted Outreach Program”, was published recently in the Journal of Creativity in Mental Health.

The paper was co-authored by Ms. Lindy Parker, an academic professional at Georgia State’ School of Public Health, who is also a nationally certified counselor and licensed professional counselor in the state of Georgia.

The study, conducted at a small arts college, found that animal assisted outreach could be a creative way to help college counseling centers meet the growing demand for services at a time of tight budgets.

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