Certification testing as an acute naturalistic stressor for disaster dog handlers

L. Lit, D. Boehm, S. Marzke, Julie B Schweitzer, A. M. Oberbauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

USA Federal Disaster Canine Teams, consisting of a handler and a dog, are essential for locating survivors following a disaster. Certification, required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue organization, requires two successful mock searches. Confirmation of the certification testing process as an acute stressor might offer further opportunities to consider stress effects on handlers and dogs in a controlled environment. This study used a pretestposttest design to evaluate relationships between salivary hormone concentrations (cortisol and testosterone) and subjective stress ratings in handlers and controls, handler assessments of stress in their dogs, and posttest temperature and pulse rate in dogs. Posttest, both subjective stress ratings and salivary cortisol concentration were higher in handlers than controls with both correlated to handlers' assessment of stress in their dogs. Handlers' posttest salivary cortisol concentration was associated with posttest dog pulse and temperature. Posttest cortisol concentration was lower in handlers who were successfully certified compared with those who failed, and was also lower in handlers whose primary occupation was "firefighter". Salivary testosterone concentrations increased from pretest to posttest in handlers but decreased in controls, and higher posttest handler testosterone concentration was negatively associated with posttest dog pulse rate. These findings confirm certification testing as an acute stressor, suggest a relationship between stress and performance moderated by occupation, and demonstrate an interaction between handler stress and dog physiological responses. This certification testing offers a controlled environment for targeted evaluation of effects of an acute naturalistic stressor on disaster dog handlers and dogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-401
Number of pages10
JournalStress
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2010

Fingerprint

Certification
Disasters
Dogs
Hydrocortisone
Testosterone
Controlled Environment
Occupations
Heart Rate
Firefighters
Physiological Stress
Temperature
Survivors
Canidae
Emergencies
Organizations
Hormones

Keywords

  • Cortisol
  • Firefighter
  • Naturalistic stressor
  • Salivary testosterone
  • Search dog
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Physiology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Certification testing as an acute naturalistic stressor for disaster dog handlers. / Lit, L.; Boehm, D.; Marzke, S.; Schweitzer, Julie B; Oberbauer, A. M.

In: Stress, Vol. 13, No. 5, 09.2010, p. 392-401.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lit, L. ; Boehm, D. ; Marzke, S. ; Schweitzer, Julie B ; Oberbauer, A. M. / Certification testing as an acute naturalistic stressor for disaster dog handlers. In: Stress. 2010 ; Vol. 13, No. 5. pp. 392-401.
@article{4d38366c573a4511b67895e59c6115c3,
title = "Certification testing as an acute naturalistic stressor for disaster dog handlers",
abstract = "USA Federal Disaster Canine Teams, consisting of a handler and a dog, are essential for locating survivors following a disaster. Certification, required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue organization, requires two successful mock searches. Confirmation of the certification testing process as an acute stressor might offer further opportunities to consider stress effects on handlers and dogs in a controlled environment. This study used a pretestposttest design to evaluate relationships between salivary hormone concentrations (cortisol and testosterone) and subjective stress ratings in handlers and controls, handler assessments of stress in their dogs, and posttest temperature and pulse rate in dogs. Posttest, both subjective stress ratings and salivary cortisol concentration were higher in handlers than controls with both correlated to handlers' assessment of stress in their dogs. Handlers' posttest salivary cortisol concentration was associated with posttest dog pulse and temperature. Posttest cortisol concentration was lower in handlers who were successfully certified compared with those who failed, and was also lower in handlers whose primary occupation was {"}firefighter{"}. Salivary testosterone concentrations increased from pretest to posttest in handlers but decreased in controls, and higher posttest handler testosterone concentration was negatively associated with posttest dog pulse rate. These findings confirm certification testing as an acute stressor, suggest a relationship between stress and performance moderated by occupation, and demonstrate an interaction between handler stress and dog physiological responses. This certification testing offers a controlled environment for targeted evaluation of effects of an acute naturalistic stressor on disaster dog handlers and dogs.",
keywords = "Cortisol, Firefighter, Naturalistic stressor, Salivary testosterone, Search dog, Stress",
author = "L. Lit and D. Boehm and S. Marzke and Schweitzer, {Julie B} and Oberbauer, {A. M.}",
year = "2010",
month = "9",
doi = "10.3109/10253891003667896",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "13",
pages = "392--401",
journal = "Stress",
issn = "1025-3890",
publisher = "Informa Healthcare",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Certification testing as an acute naturalistic stressor for disaster dog handlers

AU - Lit, L.

AU - Boehm, D.

AU - Marzke, S.

AU - Schweitzer, Julie B

AU - Oberbauer, A. M.

PY - 2010/9

Y1 - 2010/9

N2 - USA Federal Disaster Canine Teams, consisting of a handler and a dog, are essential for locating survivors following a disaster. Certification, required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue organization, requires two successful mock searches. Confirmation of the certification testing process as an acute stressor might offer further opportunities to consider stress effects on handlers and dogs in a controlled environment. This study used a pretestposttest design to evaluate relationships between salivary hormone concentrations (cortisol and testosterone) and subjective stress ratings in handlers and controls, handler assessments of stress in their dogs, and posttest temperature and pulse rate in dogs. Posttest, both subjective stress ratings and salivary cortisol concentration were higher in handlers than controls with both correlated to handlers' assessment of stress in their dogs. Handlers' posttest salivary cortisol concentration was associated with posttest dog pulse and temperature. Posttest cortisol concentration was lower in handlers who were successfully certified compared with those who failed, and was also lower in handlers whose primary occupation was "firefighter". Salivary testosterone concentrations increased from pretest to posttest in handlers but decreased in controls, and higher posttest handler testosterone concentration was negatively associated with posttest dog pulse rate. These findings confirm certification testing as an acute stressor, suggest a relationship between stress and performance moderated by occupation, and demonstrate an interaction between handler stress and dog physiological responses. This certification testing offers a controlled environment for targeted evaluation of effects of an acute naturalistic stressor on disaster dog handlers and dogs.

AB - USA Federal Disaster Canine Teams, consisting of a handler and a dog, are essential for locating survivors following a disaster. Certification, required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue organization, requires two successful mock searches. Confirmation of the certification testing process as an acute stressor might offer further opportunities to consider stress effects on handlers and dogs in a controlled environment. This study used a pretestposttest design to evaluate relationships between salivary hormone concentrations (cortisol and testosterone) and subjective stress ratings in handlers and controls, handler assessments of stress in their dogs, and posttest temperature and pulse rate in dogs. Posttest, both subjective stress ratings and salivary cortisol concentration were higher in handlers than controls with both correlated to handlers' assessment of stress in their dogs. Handlers' posttest salivary cortisol concentration was associated with posttest dog pulse and temperature. Posttest cortisol concentration was lower in handlers who were successfully certified compared with those who failed, and was also lower in handlers whose primary occupation was "firefighter". Salivary testosterone concentrations increased from pretest to posttest in handlers but decreased in controls, and higher posttest handler testosterone concentration was negatively associated with posttest dog pulse rate. These findings confirm certification testing as an acute stressor, suggest a relationship between stress and performance moderated by occupation, and demonstrate an interaction between handler stress and dog physiological responses. This certification testing offers a controlled environment for targeted evaluation of effects of an acute naturalistic stressor on disaster dog handlers and dogs.

KW - Cortisol

KW - Firefighter

KW - Naturalistic stressor

KW - Salivary testosterone

KW - Search dog

KW - Stress

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77955593672&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77955593672&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3109/10253891003667896

DO - 10.3109/10253891003667896

M3 - Article

C2 - 20666644

AN - SCOPUS:77955593672

VL - 13

SP - 392

EP - 401

JO - Stress

JF - Stress

SN - 1025-3890

IS - 5

ER -