Dr. Patricia Pendry

Patricia Pendry

Associate Professor


Johnson Tower 523, Pullman

Curriculum Vitae

  • Ph.D. Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University, 2007
  • B.Phil. Psychology, Summa cum Laude, Northwestern University, 2000
Areas of Emphasis

My research takes a biobehavioral approach towards the study of human animal interaction and human development by examining the effects of animal assisted programs in reducing the physiological ramifications of social and academic stress, with an emphasis on strengthening adaptive functioning of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) activity in children, adolescents and college students. While my research is broadly situated within a prevention science perspective, it is also informed by the interdisciplinary fields of human development and learning science through its emphasis on the social-psychological foundations of human development and learning, as well as on the design and evaluation of programs that enhance learning environments. My work includes basic and applied approaches and draws from literatures of child and adolescent development, animal assisted intervention and therapy, developmental psychoneuroendocrinology as well as program design, implementation and evaluation.

Current Research Projects

PETPALS – Pets for Promotion of Academic Life Skills: Funded by MARS/WALTHAM, the PETPALS study is a randomized controlled trial examining the effects of college-based, animal-assisted stress prevention programs on human and animal participants. The main goal of this study is to examine the causal effects of infusing various levels of HAI (Human Animal Interaction) on college students’ executive functioning, motivation and learning, mental health symptomatology (anxiety, perceived stress, depression, and worry) and stress-related physiology (diurnal and momentary cortisol and alpha-amylase production). Another goal is to better understand the effects of participation in HAI programming on stress behavior of emotional support animals, and the role played by the quality of HAI on human and animal outcomes.

PATH to Success Study 
Inspired by the desire to prevent the development of stress-related child adjustment problems through animal-assisted, after-school programming, this NIH/Mars-Waltham funded, randomized controlled trial examines the efficacy of an 11-week, equine facilitated learning (EFL) program to strengthen adaptive diurnal activity of the HPA axis (measured through repeated measures of salivary cortisol) and enhance social competence of 10-15 year-old adolescents.

Pet your Stress Away Study
This randomized control trial examines the efficacy of an animal-assisted stress reduction program conducted at a college campus in the week leading up to final exams examining effects of a 10-minute session of canine and feline petting on students’ momentary emotion, perceptions of stress and momentary cortisol levels.

Physiology and Emotion during Human Equine Interaction
This study examines the diurnal and momentary activity of adolescents’ cortisol and alpha-amylase levels and their emotional and behavioral responses to various equine facilitated learning (EFL) program activities.

This is a pilot project examining an equine-assisted version of the Strengthening Families Program (SFP), a nationally and internationally recognized, evidenced-based parenting and family skills training program for high-risk and regular families. This mixed-methods project examines the design, implementation and evaluation of SFP-E, including a clinical trial on the effects of family-level, equine facilitated learning activities on the quality of family interactions and their physiological, behavioral and emotional correlates.

Family Life and Stress Study
The Family Life and Stress Study – funded by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) – examines the role of child exposure to interparental discord and the dysregulation of child and adolescent cortisol and alpha-amylase levels.


Efficacy of college-based, animal-assisted stress-prevention programs on human and animal participants. $369,883 from MARS/WALTHAM, (Principal Investigator: P. Pendry, 1/1/16-12/30/18).

Randomized Controlled Trial on Effects of College-Based, Animal Assisted Stress Prevention Program on Students’ Cortisol Reactivity and Emotion Regulation. $48,500 from the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, Washington State University, (Principal Investigator: P. Pendry, 7/1/15-6/30/17).

Professional Development Award. $6,500 from the Department of Human Development, Washington State University, (Principal Investigator: P. Pendry, 1/1/15-5/30/16).

Efficacy Trial of Equine Assisted Counseling on Child Competence and Stress, $100,000 from National Institutes of Health, 5R03 HD066590-02 (Principal Investigator: P. Pendry, 8/01/10-7/01/13).

Family Instability, Interparental Conflict and Child Adjustment: Exploring the Role of Children’s Physiological Stress-System Activity and Negative Emotionality, $20,000 from the National Center for Marriage Research, (Principal Investigator: P. Pendry, 7/01/08-8/31/10).

Selected Peer Review Publications

Pendry, P., Carr, A., & Vandagriff, J. (2016). Does animal presence or interaction impact social and classroom behaviors conducive to student success? In N. Gee, A. Fine, & P. McCardle (Eds.), How Animals Help Students Learn: Research and Practice for Educators and Mental-Health Professionals. London: Routledge.

Pendry, P., Carr, A.M., Smith, A.N., & Roeter, S.M. (2014). Improving adolescent social competence and behavior: A randomized trial of an 11-week equine facilitated learning prevention program. Journal of Primary Prevention 35(4), 281-293. doi: 10.1007/s10935-014-0350-7.

Pendry, P., Smith, A.N., & Roeter, S.M. (2014). Randomized trial examines effects of equine facilitated learning on adolescents’ basal cortisol levelsHuman Animal Interaction Bulletin, 2(1), 80-95.

Pendry, P., Carr, A., Papp, L.M., & Antles, J. (2013). Child presence during psychologically aggressive interparental conflict: Implications for internalizing and externalizing behavior. Family Relations, 62(5), 755-767. doi: 10.111/fare.12033

Pendry, P., & Roeter, S.M. (2013). Experimental trial demonstrates positive effects of equine facilitated learning on child social competence. Human Animal Interaction Bulletin, 1(1), 1-19.

Pendry, P., & Adam, E.K. (2013). Child-related interparental conflict in infancy predicts child cognitive functioning in a nationally representative sample. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(4), 502-515. doi: 10.1007/s10826-012-9603-3

Pendry, P., Roeter, S.M., Smith, A.N., Jacobson, S., & Erdman, P. (2013). Trajectories of positive and negative behavior during participation in equine facilitated learning program for horse-novice youth. Journal of Extension, 51(1) doi: 1R1B5 ISSN: 1077-5315

Pendry, P., (2013). EFL improves children’s social competence. Strides. Invited article in the bi-monthly publication of the Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship International, 4, 36-42.

Papp, L.M., Pendry, P., Simon, C., & Adam, E.K. (2012). Spouses’ cortisol associations and moderators: Testing physiological synchrony and connectedness in everyday life. Family Process, 52(2), 284-298. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.2012.01413.x

Lisonbee, J.A., Pendry, P., Mize, J., & Parrett, G.E. (2010). Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and sympathetic nervous system activity and children’s behavioral regulation. Mind, Brain, and Education, 4(4), 171-181. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-228X.2010.01096.x

Papp, L.M., Pendry, P., & Adam, E.K. (2009). Mother-adolescent physiological synchrony in naturalistic settings: Within-family cortisol associations and moderators. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(6), 882-894. doi: 10.1037/a0017147

Pendry, P., & Adam, E.K. (2007). Associations between parents’ marital functioning, maternal parenting quality, maternal emotion and child cortisol levels. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 31(3), 218-231. doi: 10.1177/0165025407074634.

Adam, E.K., Snell, E.K., & Pendry, P. (2007). Sleep timing and quantity in ecological and family context: A representative time-diary study. Journal of Family Psychology, 21(1), 4-19.  doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.21.1.4

Recent Scholarly Presentations

Pendry, P., Carr, A. M., Smith, A. M., & Roeter, S. M. Associations between momentary emotion, basal cortisol production and reactivity, and observed behavior in a sample of normal and at-risk 5th through 8th grade children during their first mounted equine facilitated learning activity. Paper accepted for the Triennial International Conference of the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations, Chicago, Illinois, July, 2013.

Pendry, P., & Carr, A. M. (2013). Cortisol Levels and Momentary Emotion Influence Behavior of Adolescents During Equine Facilitated Learning Program. Paper symposium presented at  the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development, Seattle, Washington, April, 2013.

Pendry P. (2013). Effects of Human Equine Interaction on Human Functioning, Development and Wellbeing. Invited Paper Presentation conducted at the National Equine Forum, London, United Kingdom, March 5, 2013.

Pendry P. (2013). Effects of Human Equine Interaction on Human Functioning, Development and Wellbeing. Invited Paper Presentation conducted at Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Waltham on the Wolds, Leicestershire, United Kingdom, March 8, 2013.

Pendry. P., Smith, A.N., & Roeter, S.M. (2013). Effects of Equine Facilitated Learning on Diurnal Patterns of Child Cortisol. Poster presented at the 2013 Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Meeting, Seattle, Washington, April, 2013.

Roeter, S., & Pendry. P. (2013). Effects of an 11-week equine facilitated learning program on child engagement coping. Poster presented at the 2013 Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Meeting, Seattle, Washington, April, 2013.