Date of Graduation

12-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Nursing

Advisor

Vowell Johnson, Kelly

Reader

Jogan, Kathleen

Second Reader

Henderson, Jaye

Third Reader

Hale, Cathy

Abstract

This research project investigates how university students are affected by interacting with therapy horses. Stress is the factor that will be evaluated in this particular study. The self-rated stress scores will be acquired from University of Arkansas students both before and after interacting with specially trained therapy horses during an Equine Assisted Activity and Therapy (EAAT) class offered at the University. Stress will be evaluated by students taking a survey inquiring about daily stressors including finances, school, work and relationships. The data collected will be compared by pre- and post- interactions with the horses. We expect that the pre- and post- survey results will indicate lower stress levels following interaction with the therapy horses. Therapy horses’ calming and therapeutic effect on humans could result in stress relieving benefits for the University of Arkansas students participating in this study. This study could support the utilization of therapy horses to decrease stress for college students. Overall there was no significant evidence supporting a decrease in students stress levels in this study. Future studies will require a larger sample size as well as a control group. The possibility of horse therapy use in the decrease of stress levels of university students is valuable and should be studied further.

Keywords

horse therapy, stress, student

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