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Animal-assisted Psychotherapy and Trauma: A Meta-analysis

By Sarah M. Germain, Karlene D. Wilkie, Virginia M. K. Milbourne, Jennifer Theule

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The present meta-analysis examined the efficacy of animal-assisted psychotherapy for individuals who have experienced trauma. Eight studies quantitatively assessed the treatment effects of involvement in animal-assisted psychotherapy. A random effects model was used to aggregate each study into an overall effect size. Eight effect sizes were included in the pre-versus post-comparison analysis. The results indicate a large effect size (Hedge’s g = 0.86, p < 0.001, 95% CI [.53, 1.18]). Two effect sizes were included in the treatment versus control comparison analysis. The results indicated a small to moderate effect size (g = 0.46, p = 0.03, 95% CI [0.04, 0.06]). Limited moderator analyses were able to be conducted due to lack of consistent reporting across studies. Place of study and percentage of female participants in the treatment group were found to statistically moderate the effect of animal-assisted psychotherapy. The results indicate that animal-assisted therapy is an efficacious treatment for trauma.

Publication Title Anthrozoös
Volume 31
Issue 2
Pages 141-164
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2018.1434044
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Human-animal interactions
  3. Meta-analysis
  4. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  5. trauma