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The effects of pets on schizophrenics in a day treatment program

By Carol Lynne Eyster

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In an effort to record the therapeutic effects of animals, three rabbits were introduced into a group therapy setting. Eight subjects (two female, six male) having the diagnosis of schizophrenia, chronic type and participating in a day treatment program were observed by four trained observers. Two observers recorded ten behaviors with the Behavioral Observation System and two observers scored observable psychotic behaviors on the Psychotic Inpatient Profile and adjustment on the MACC Behavioral Adjustment Scale. A reversal design was used which consisted of four phases: Phase 1 - baseline. Phase 2 - treatment. Phase 3 - treatment removal. Phase 4 - treatment. Each phase consisted of five days, with a two hour group each day. Results showed that during the treatment phases, both the frequency and duration of passive entertainment (observing the rabbits) as well as the frequency of active entertainment (interacting with the rabbits) increased significantly while the duration of nervous mannerisms decreased significantly. One subject (initially communicative) responded favorably on 14 out of the possible 24 measures. Additionally, five of the seven subjects decreased their seclusiveness during the treatment phases.


Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 1984
Pages 56
Publisher California State University - San Bernardino
Location of Publication San Bernardino, California
Department Science
Degree Psychology
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Animal roles
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Health
  5. Mammals
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. rabbits
  8. schizophrenia
  9. Service animals
  10. treatment