Equine-assisted services (EASs) are being increasingly used as complementary interventions for military veterans who have experienced trauma. However, there is limited evidence of benefit for this population and almost no literature describing the desired potential outcomes and possible mechanisms of action. The aim of this article is to address these gaps by reviewing the extant literature of animal-assisted interventions in general, and equine-assisted services in particular, with the goal of providing guidance for future investigations in the field. Currently, the field is in the early stage of scientific development, but published results are promising. Interventions that enhance treatment compliance and/or outcomes could benefit this population. Preliminary results, reviewed herein, indicate that EAS interventions might benefit the military veteran population by enhancing treatment engagement and therapeutic alliance, as well as by contributing to symptom reduction and resulting in various transdiagnostic benefits. It is recommended that future studies include exploration of potential beneficial outcomes discussed herein, as well as investigate suggested mechanisms of action.
|Publication Title||Int J Environ Res Public Health|
|Author Address||VISN 19 Whole Health Flagship Site, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, 500 Foothill, Salt Lake City, UT 84148, USA.Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Utah, 501 Chipeta Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences, Utah State University, 4815 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322, USA.|
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