(Aug. 10, 2017) – Assistant Professor Sandra Branson, Ph.D., R.N., Department of Nursing Systems, published in June a new randomized, controlled study of animal-assisted interventions:

Branson, S., Boss, L., Padhye, N., Troetscher, T., & Ward, A. (2017).  Effects of animal-assisted intervention on biobehavioral stress responses in hospitalized children: A randomized controlled study. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 36, 84-91. DOI:10.1016/j.pedn.2017.05.006

UTHealth School of Nursing co-authors are Associate Professor Nikhil S. Padhye, Ph.D., and Research Nurse Thea T. Trötscher, R.N.

Faithful Paws Pet Therapy of Houston assisted in the study.

Researchers assessed biobehavioral stress responses (anxiety, positive and negative affect, and salivary cortisol and C-reactive protein [CRP] levels) before and after the intervention of animal-assisted activities with 48 children hospitalized at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. The authors suggest that, with their holistic view of patients, nurses are well-positioned to recommend animal-assisted activities as a beneficial and safe experience for hospitalized children.

The work was supported by a Joe D. & Lee Jamail Distinguished Professorship in Nursing endowment formerly held by retired UTHealth School of Nursing professor Mara Baun, Ph.D., R.N.