Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Conventional veterinary training equips veterinarians with skills to treat medical problems with animals. Until recently little emphasis has been placed on the human aspects of veterinary training and treatment. With the identification of the Human/Companion Animal Bond as a distinct area of scientific investigation, an increased awareness in this human factor in veterinary work has begun to emerge. To address the human factor, this study set out to evaluate the effectiveness of a training program developed to equip veterinarians with intervention skills and knowledge of family emotional process.;One, if not the most stressful, aspects of veterinary work reported by clinicians was dealing with anxious pet owners. The rationale for this study was to equip veterinarians with family psychotherapy theory and methodology to better handle anxious pet owners, thus reducing job stress for veterinarians.;The training program developed offered fifteen contact hours. The training was experience based learning as well as conventional didactic presentation.;The population was selected from among the staffs of two emergency veterinary clinics. For the pre-post control group design, one clinic comprised the treatment group and the other the control group. Pre and post testing was conducted on the dimensions of clinician anxiety level and level of clinician empathic response. These measures were taken after simulated pet/owner interviews which employed trained actors as pet owners and real pets as identified patients. Each of these simulated interviews was videotaped as part of the evaluation process.;The research findings were statistically significant supporting a treatment effect on the dimension of increased empathy expressed by the clinician. The anxiety results were inconclusive in that raw scores on this measure suggested the presence of socially desirable scoring patterns.;The scoring patterns for the treatment and control groups combined with their subjective evaluations of the training lend support to the need for training in this area. Implications for future training and research in veterinary stress management training are addressed.



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