This quasi-experimental study was designed to determine the psychosocial and physiological effects of pet-facilitated therapy upon a group of institutionalized elderly. The study population was comprised of 16 institutionalized elderly who were (a) oriented to person, place, and time; (b) mobile; and (c) physically able and willing to hold a live pet rabbit during 30 minutes of four group sessions. Researcher-designed tools and protocols were used in the study to record blood pressures, heart rates, and the number of social interactions during each group session. The subjects were randomly assigned to an experimental or a control group. Each group had eight participating subjects. The experimental group held an assigned live pet rabbit during each group session. Mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures, heart rates, and social interaction ratings were subjected to the ^ test. Values obtained led the researcher to reject the null hypothesis concerning the social interactions but fail to reject the null hypothesis concerning the cardiovascular responses. The researcher concluded from the data that V l l pet-facilitated therapy had no effect on cardiovascular responses. However, pet-facilitated therapy had a significant positive effect upon social interactions.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Rayna Skinner

Second Advisor

Phyllis Werner

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons