Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lahnna Catalino

Reader 2

Jennifer Ma

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© 2018 Qiuhua Tang


The proposed study will investigate the effects of animal companionship on the acculturative stress of international students at American universities and colleges. Language constraint will be examined as a possible moderator, and sense of belonging will be examined as a possible mediator in the effects of animal companionship on acculturative stress. Participants will be international students at the Claremont Colleges. They will first fill out demographic information, a sense of belonging scale, and an acculturative stress scale online. They will then come to the lab weekly, and be randomly assigned to either hang out with their peers, or engage in animal-assisted activities with dogs for one hour. The study will last four weeks, and at the end of the study, participants will fill out the sense of belonging scale and the acculturative stress scale again online. Participants in the animal condition are expected to report greater decreases in acculturative stress than participants in the game condition. Participants who are non-native English speakers will experience greater decreases in their acculturative stress than participants who are native English speakers in the animal group. Sense of belonging will mediate the effect of interaction with animals/people on acculturative stress. The results would then suggest that animal companionship helps alleviate international students’ acculturative stress, and future college counseling programs designed for international students should consider animal-assisted activities or therapy.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.