Date of Award

December 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Raymond Fleming

Committee Members

Raymond Fleming, Shawn Cahill, Susan Lima


Affirmation, Dogs, Expressive Writing, Pets, Self-affirmation, Values Affirmation


The purpose of the current study was to explore whether valuing a pet dog after writing about a negative personal experience could facilitate cardiovascular recovery, reduce anxiety, and boost positive affect even in the absence of the pet. Data was analyzed using one-within and one-between repeated-measures ANOVAs. It was found that there were no significant between-group differences in cardiovascular responses to the affirmation manipulation such that HR decreased at roughly the same rate as the control condition. Self-reported ratings of anxiety significantly decreased for both groups across time, and there was no overall effect on positive mood. Therefore, it was concluded that valuing a pet dog was not more effective at reducing the stress response than writing about the contents of a closet.

Included in

Psychology Commons