Does Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) have an effect on mood in United States Veterans?
AffiliationThe University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
MeSH SubjectsMental Disorders
Community Preventative Medicine
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
DescriptionA Thesis submitted to The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Medicine.
AbstractResearch has shown benefit for United States veterans with service dogs and emotional support animals. However, the literature is lacking in research on the beneficial effects and impact of therapy animals specifically on the disabled veteran population. This pilot study explored the effects of a single therapy dog on various aspects of mood, including depression and anxiety, in disabled veterans by incorporating five weeks of thirty-minute therapy sessions to a group of eight veterans. Although this was a small sample population, we concluded that five weeks of consecutive animal assisted therapy resulted in a general decrease in anxiety and depression, and an overall positive increase in mood as evidenced by Beck Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and Trauma Symptom Inventory scores. Further large-scale studies will need to be conducted with a greater number of participants to help support the data in this study.