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The effect of swimming with dolphins on human well-being and anxiety

Webb, N.L. and Drummond, P.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-3711-8737 (2001) The effect of swimming with dolphins on human well-being and anxiety. Anthrozoös, 14 (2). pp. 81-85.

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The present investigation aimed to explore the psychological effects for humans of swimming with dolphins as opposed to swimming in the ocean without dolphins. It was hypothesized that people swimming with dolphins would experience significantly greater levels of well-being and reduced levels of anxiety than those who swam without dolphins. Participants were sampled from Perth's UnderWater World marine park and at the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre, Australia. Participants completed well-being and anxiety measures before and after their swim. Well-being was greater in participants who swam with dolphins than in those who did not, both before and after their swim. However, well-being increased to the same extent in both groups. In contrast, anxiety decreased for participants swimming with dolphins but not in those who swam without dolphins. The findings suggest that anticipation of a new and exciting experience, and swimming, itself increase well-being. In addition, swimming specifically with dolphins may lower anxiety. Whether these effects are responsible for the therapeutic benefits associated with human-dolphin interactions requires further investigation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Routledge
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