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Effects of Animal Assisted Therapy on Human Health

By Gene Swanson

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The purpose of this thesis is to conduct an integrative review of existing literature focusing on Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), specifically canines, on human health. The reviewed articles were published between the years of 2000 to 2014, written in the English language, scholarly in nature, in peer-reviewed journals with access to full text electronic versions of the article, along with articles that provided current anecdotal information related to the effects of AAT. Search terms included the phrase, "animal assisted therapy" in the title. Results of the literature search yielded an enormous quantity of recent and innovative research on various aspects of AAT. Various animals were identified with ATT, most often canines; however, it is not uncommon to find that horses, dolphins, felines, birds, or even small mammals satisfying the same roles. Of these, for this thesis thirteen research articles were selected that dealt primarily with canines in AAT. The findings from the review for this thesis suggested that despite the large volume of available research on ATT in general, a gap in literature exists focusing on the health outcomes with specific animal species. Additionally, the research was noted to be fragmented in nature and the findings were inconsistent; thus, limiting the development of evidence based ATT interventions. Implications for nursing research, policy, education and practice are discussed, along with limitations of this integrative review.


Katie Carroll

Date 2014
Pages 1-45
Publisher University of Central Florida STARS
Department College of Nursing
Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Language English
University University of Central Florida
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Animal roles
  3. Dogs
  4. Health
  5. Human-animal bond
  6. Human health
  7. Mammals
  8. therapy animals