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Companion animals, Coping, Coronavirus pandemic, Stress, Stress appraisal, University students


D. Kane


K. Soucie




The coronavirus 2019 pandemic introduced a new array of daily stressors, known as daily hassles, to the lives of university students. This study used the Stress, Appraisal, and Coping theory (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) to understand how university students were affected by daily hassles and how they were coping with hassles-based stress, as well as how their companion animals provided social support during the stress and coping process. In this study, it was hypothesized that: (1) university students who experienced more daily hassles would experience higher perceived stress and lower overall life satisfaction; (2) university students who made effective use of coping strategies would experience lower perceived stress, and (3) university students who had higher perceived social support would experience lower perceived stress and higher overall life satisfaction. The study used a mixed-method approach that implemented a survey with measures of daily hassles, perceived stress, pandemic stress, coping strategies, social support, and overall life satisfaction. Open-ended questions were used to investigate the impact of stress and coping strategies, including the role of companion animals. Simple correlations and mediation analyses were used to analyze the measured responses, while a codebook thematic analysis was used to code the open-ended responses. The research findings showed that participants experienced hassles-based stress, and that effective coping strategies was associated with decreased stress and increased life satisfaction. However, social support from companion animals did not emerge as an effective coping strategy because it was not found to be associated with lower stress.

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