Exploring the Role of Playfulness with Canine Animal Companions in Coping with Stress

Mary Harlinger, Tennessee State University

Abstract

This study investigated playfulness with a canine companion as a coping strategy for stress. Animal companions often serve as a buffer against life stressors. Understanding the role of playfulness with a canine companion in providing relief from stress may help clarify the importance of play for adults and the value of canine companions.^ Data from current dog owners was collected online through social media and classified ads. The final sample of 323 adult participants provided responses to demographics, the Short Measure on Adult Playfulness (SMAP), a pre/post Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), a pre/post Playfulness Descriptor List (PDL), the Lexington Attachment to Pet Scale (LAPS), and a written memory of a play event with their dog.^ Findings supported: trait playfulness as a predictor for attachment; state playfulness as a negative predictor for post-intervention stress; the memory of a play event increased state playfulness and decreased perceived stress levels; a positive relationship between state playfulness and attachment. Findings did not support trait playfulness as a predictor for post-perceived stress levels nor gave evidence for a relationship between post-perceived stress and attachment.^

Subject Area

Social psychology|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Mary Harlinger, "Exploring the Role of Playfulness with Canine Animal Companions in Coping with Stress" (2016). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10158690.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI10158690

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