The overall research goal was to collect all empirical, published evidence of Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) for individuals who have experienced trauma, including those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The following inclusion criteria were used to select relevant articles for review: (a) publication in English in a peer-reviewed journal or thesis, (b) collection of original, empirical data on outcomes from AAI, which was defined as any intervention that intentionally incorporated a live animal, and (c) reporting of summative results for participants who have experienced trauma, including PTSD.
The first systematic review of research on animal-assisted intervention (AAI) for victims of trauma, this study found preliminary evidence that “animals may provide unique elements to address several PTSD symptoms.” Specifically, “people with PTSD often experience emotional numbing, yet the presence of an animal has been reported to elicit positive emotions and warmth. Animals have also been demonstrated as social facilitators that can connect people and reduce loneliness, which may assist individuals with PTSD break out of isolation and connect to the humans around them.”
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