Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

May 2015



First Advisor

Sheila Marie Schreiner


Stress is a sensation that can be helpful in a dangerous situation but also very harmful in excess. The body naturally begins to fight off the stress response in order to try and diminish the negative effects that it causes in the body. There are many adverse effects to experiencing stress which could include vomiting, panic attacks, changes in breathing, constipation and possibly an increase in drug and alcohol usage (1). College students are known to experience massive amounts of stress mostly revolving around examinations. Animals have been used to reduce stress levels for many years now, and it has been shown that animal owners show significant health benefits due to the reduction of stress. In this experiment we collected salivary cortisol, the hormone responsible for the stress response, from students prior to an exam. Half of the students participated in animal interactions with a friendly dog from the local animal shelter and half of the students did not get contact with the animal. After running the saliva samples through an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, no significant difference between the cortisol levels of students with the animal interaction and students without animal interaction were found statistically. Because the sample size was so low, the outliers from each group had a significant effect on the results. If repeated, the sample size will have to increase in order to see the difference between the experiment and the control.

Included in

Biology Commons