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Do animal-assisted activities effectively treat depression? A meta-analysis

By M. A. Souter, M. D. Miller

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

We conducted a meta-analysis to determine the effectiveness of animal-assisted activities (AAA) and animal-assisted therapy (AAT) for reducing depressive symptoms in humans. To be included in the meta-analysis, studies had to demonstrate random assignment, include a comparison/control group, use AAA or AAT, use a self-report measure of depression, and report sufficient information to calculate effect sizes, a statistical standardization of the strength of a treatment effect. Five studies were identified for analysis. The aggregate effect size for these studies was of medium magnitude and statistically significant, indicating that AAA/AAT are associated with fewer depressive symptoms. This analysis revealed gaps in the research on AAA/AAT, which we attempted to identify in order to better understand the factors that make AAA and AAT effective at reducing depression.

Date 2007
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 20
Issue 2
Pages 167-180
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175303707X207954
Language English
Author Address Department of Psychology, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5106, USA.Michelle.Miller@nau.edu
Tags
  1. Anthrozoology
  2. Depression
  3. Diseases
  4. Humans
  5. Mammals
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. Primates
  8. Psychiatry and psychology
  9. Psychotherapy
  10. therapeutics
  11. therapy
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed