Presentation Title

Does the Presence of a Dog in the Home Buffer the Effects of Stress in Older Adults and Their Family Caregivers?

Presenter Information

Amanda CrawfordFollow

Advisor Information

Rose Strasser

Location

MBSC Ballroom - Poster #107 - G

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

4-3-2022 10:45 AM

End Date

4-3-2022 12:00 PM

Abstract

Advancements in health care and society have resulted in increasing numbers of people living over the age of 65. With that comes an increase in the number of older adults dealing with various health issues, leading to a rise in stress in older adults and their loved ones who help care for them. Thus, there is an increased need for finding ways to reduce the stress that comes with being, and caring for, an older adult. While there is a lot of support for the benefits of animal-assisted therapy, there is less research on the benefits of companion dogs for older adults. Unlike therapy dogs, companion dogs remain in the home, allowing the opportunity for individuals to build a relationship with their dog, which may play a role in the benefits that companion animals can provide to their owners. This study seeks to investigate whether companion dogs can effectively buffer stress in older adults and their family caregivers. I hypothesize that individuals in homes with a dog will have lower levels of perceived and hormonal stress compared to individuals in homes without a dog. Within the companion dog group, I hypothesize that individuals with higher levels of attachment to the dogs will have lower levels of stress than individuals with lower levels of attachment to the dogs. Findings from this study will help provide insight as to whether companion dogs can effectively buffer stress, which could lead to better health and outcomes for older adults and their caregivers.

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Mar 4th, 10:45 AM Mar 4th, 12:00 PM

Does the Presence of a Dog in the Home Buffer the Effects of Stress in Older Adults and Their Family Caregivers?

MBSC Ballroom - Poster #107 - G

Advancements in health care and society have resulted in increasing numbers of people living over the age of 65. With that comes an increase in the number of older adults dealing with various health issues, leading to a rise in stress in older adults and their loved ones who help care for them. Thus, there is an increased need for finding ways to reduce the stress that comes with being, and caring for, an older adult. While there is a lot of support for the benefits of animal-assisted therapy, there is less research on the benefits of companion dogs for older adults. Unlike therapy dogs, companion dogs remain in the home, allowing the opportunity for individuals to build a relationship with their dog, which may play a role in the benefits that companion animals can provide to their owners. This study seeks to investigate whether companion dogs can effectively buffer stress in older adults and their family caregivers. I hypothesize that individuals in homes with a dog will have lower levels of perceived and hormonal stress compared to individuals in homes without a dog. Within the companion dog group, I hypothesize that individuals with higher levels of attachment to the dogs will have lower levels of stress than individuals with lower levels of attachment to the dogs. Findings from this study will help provide insight as to whether companion dogs can effectively buffer stress, which could lead to better health and outcomes for older adults and their caregivers.