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Dogs as an intervention for behavioral symptoms of older adults with dementia: a systematic review

By Katie E. McLellan, Kirsten Wilbur (adviser)

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Category Theses

The purpose of this systematic review was to determine if dogs are an effective occupational therapy intervention for reducing agitation and increasing social participation among older adults with symptoms of dementia by examining and rating the current published evidence. Studies were included if a dog was the primary intervention, and participants were at least 65 years of age with a diagnosis of dementia. Eleven studies were identified that met inclusion criteria. A majority of those studies found that the use of a dog reduced agitated behaviors and promoted social participation in older adults with dementia. While the variability in the methodology of the interventions in these studies make specific clinical recommendations difficult to determine, the current literature does suggest that animal assisted therapy would be an effective intervention strategy for occupational therapists working with clients in all stages of dementia.


Megan Kendall

Purdue University

Date 2012
Pages 38
Degree Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
Language English
Notes This thesis was found at the University of Puget Sound's Sound Ideas:
University University of Puget Sound
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Alzheimer disease
  2. Animal-assisted therapies
  3. Animal roles
  4. Assisted therapy
  5. Behavioral research
  6. Cognitive disorders
  7. Dogs
  8. Mammals
  9. Occupational Therapy
  10. Older adults
  11. Pets and companion animals
  12. Social behavior
  13. Social participation