Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series | HABRI

Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series

sponsored by IDEXX

The Efficacy of Service Dogs for Veterans with PTSD

About the Session

This lecture will feature a conversation with Dr. Marguerite E. O’Haire, Associate Professor of Human-Animal Interaction, Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University about her research supporting the benefits of service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. O’Haire will discuss the main findings and implications of her HABRI-funded study, Preliminary efficacy of service dogs as a complementary treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder in military members and veterans.

Published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 2018, Dr. O’Haire’s proof-of-concept study assessed the efficacy of service dogs as a complementary treatment for military members and veterans living with PTSD. Results indicate that those with a service dog exhibit significantly lower overall PTSD symptom severity, including increased overall psychological well-being; a better ability to cope with flashbacks and anxiety attacks; a lower frequency of nightmares and less overall sleep disturbance; lower overall anxiety, depression, and anger; higher levels of companionship and social reintegration; and lower levels of social isolation.

The success of this study led to a large-scale National Institutes of Health clinical trial, which is ongoing and expected to be completed in 2021.

About the Speaker

Dr. Marguerite E. O’Haire

Associate Professor, Center for the Human-Animal Bond, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Marguerite (Maggie) O’Haire is an internationally recognized Fulbright Scholar who is currently an Associate Professor of Human-Animal Interaction in the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University. She earned her BA in Psychology from Vassar College in New York and her PhD in Psychology from The University of Queensland in Australia. Her research program focuses on the unique and pervasive ways that humans interact with animals. From research with household pets to highly trained service animals, her findings have been instrumental in evaluating the effects of human-animal interactions. She has received funding from three different NIH institutes (NICHD, NCCIH, NCATS) to fund her human-animal interaction research. Check out an interview with Dr. O’Haire and NIH Medline Plus and her “Meet the Anthrozoologist” Interview to see her advice on becoming a human-animal interaction researcher.

Dr. O’Haire’s research topics have included classroom-based, animal-assisted intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder and the effects of service dogs for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder and their families. In addition to her peer-reviewed publications and textbook chapters, her work has also been highlighted in over 1,000 media stories around the globe, including NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Dr. O’Haire has won the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) Early Career Award and the Young Alumnae Achievement Award from Vassar College for her exceptional professional achievements. At Purdue, she currently enjoys teaching and mentoring students in her productive human-animal interaction lab.


The Organization for Human-Animal Interaction Research and Education

The Organization for Human-Animal Interaction Research and Education

The Organization for Human-Animal Interaction Research and Education (OHAIRE) is a research group led by Dr. Maggie O’Haire at Purdue University. It includes national and international collaborators, students, and community members working together to conduct rigorous, scientific research on the unique and pervasive effects of interacting with animals.