The Impact of Caring and Killing on Physiological and Psychometric Measures of Stress in Animal Shelter Employees: A Pilot Study

Allison Andrukonis, Nathaniel Hall, Alexandra Protopopova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

<jats:p>Animal shelter employees are in a unique position where they care for, and later kill, the same animals. The aim of our exploratory study was to assess whether “caring” and/or “killing” evokes physiological and psychometric indicators of stress in employees. Experiment 1 compared three careers that kill regularly, but involve varying degrees of husbandry (n = 28). Blood pressure (BP), salivary cortisol, heart rate (HR), and heart rate variability (HRV) were collected; data showed higher HR and lower HRV during the process of killing. Psychometric scales showed that burnout and Impact Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) scores were higher in careers with higher contact with animals. Experiment 2 compared three careers that involve husbandry, but varying exposure to killing (n = 41). BP, cortisol awakening response, HR, and HRV were measured as well as Professional Quality of Life Scale, IES-R, and Moral Injury Event Scale were administered. There were no significant differences across
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9196
JournalDefault journal
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

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