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Abuse, Attachment and Animal Assisted Activities

By Elizabeth Gallagher

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In the effort to take responsibly and effect positive change in the lives of our children, we must begin by identifying and applying the most effective methods to help them overcome obstacles to mental and emotional well-being. In conjunction with a limited number of quantitative studies, anecdotal evidence suggests that animal-assisted therapies and activities promote positive outcomes for children who have been physically abused and who have developed behavioral and emotional disorders. Chapter one will address the current state of the research on the impact of physical abuse on children's physical, social and emotional beings. Understanding what we know about what abused children must cope with, chapter two will examine service provision under the current system known as the continuum of care. Finally, chapter three will introduce animal assisted therapy and illustrate the ways in which it can strengthen and support services that are already in place for children who are struggling with behavioral and emotional disorders that result from physical abuse. Before the argument for including animal assisted programs as a supplement to services currently provided can be made, this therapeutic approach deserves to be appropriately standardized and evaluated. Allocating more resources to research that will develop the breath and depth of knowledge in the field of animal assisted therapy is a necessary step in improving the quality of care.


Katie Carroll

Date 2004
Pages 67
Publisher Boston College
Department Education
Degree Bachelor of Arts
Language English
University Boston College
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animals in culture
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Child abuse
  6. Children
  7. Human-animal bond
  8. Human-animal relationships
  9. Pet ownership
  10. Pets and companion animals
  11. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder