Many studies have evaluated the effectiveness of animals in improving patient outcomes, such as their ability to improve cardiovascular health or alleviate depression symptoms. However, little research has been done to evaluate the beliefs of practitioners about the role that animals can play in human health. Since practitioners are gatekeepers to treatments, understanding their beliefs about animals’ utility in human health interventions is fundamental to the mainstream acceptance of animals to achieve specific therapy goals. If practitioners do not believe or understand how animals can improve human health, they are unlikely to prescribe such treatments. Thus it is essential to evaluate and understand the attitudes and beliefs of practitioners regarding the relationship between animals and human health.
Research into practitioner attitudes began in 1979, with an investigation of allergists beliefs regarding pet ownership among allergic patients. Since that time several other studies on pet-keeping and immunology have been conducted. However, the majority of the research into practitioner attitudes and beliefs on the role animals play in human health has centered on animal assisted interactions (AAI). This brief summarizes the current knowledge on practitioner attitudes and beliefs regarding the role that animals play in human health as well as makes recommendations for future research.
|Series Title||HABRI Central Briefs|