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ERIC Number: ED555368
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 123
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3034-2844-9
Creating Social Connections in Higher Education: Insights from the Campus Canines Program at the University of Pittsburgh
Camaioni, Nicole
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
The overall purpose of this study was to capture the relationships made during the Campus Canines Program, an animal-assisted activity program, at the University of Pittsburgh. Meaningful social relationships create greater educational satisfaction. These social relationships are an important piece to creating and sustaining student involvement, and therefore retention, in a college environment. Therefore, the current study is significant because Campus Canines Program may be a program that fosters these important relationships for students. This study used a case study approach that included two mixed-method online instruments. Both surveys are comprised of close-ended quantitative questions and open-ended qualitative questions. During the 2012 Spring Academic Term, a census of the entire population was conducted. This census determined the entire student population to be 270 and volunteer population to be 20. The canine population of 22 was also determined but only for informational purposes. All 270 students were selected for this study and 69 responded to the survey with a 25.5% response rate. All 20 volunteers were selected to participate in this study and 11 responded to the survey with a 55% response rate. Overall, the results suggest that the Campus Canines Program does create a program for student involvement and may support established relationships. The key findings include (1) the dogs may aid in communication with other participants, (2) the program specifically supports established relationships between friends and family, and (3) the Campus Canine Program may provide stress relief. In the first key finding, the dogs act as a social stimulant. This supports the literature that states animals provide a safe environment to promote communication between people. The second key finding shows that the Campus Canines Program specifically supports established relationships between friends and family. These results support the literature which indicates that the human-animal relationship may aid in the development of social networks. Lastly, the third key finding shows that stress relief is a benefit of this program. This does support the literature that states interaction with animals produces physiological benefits. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania