New Research to Study Impacts of Animal-Assisted Interventions for Youth in Residential Treatment Program | HABRI

New Research to Study Impacts of Animal-Assisted Interventions for Youth in Residential Treatment Program

Human Animal Bond Research Institute Awards Grant to Institute for Human-Animal Connection, University of Denver

Washington, D.C. (November 16, 2020) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a grant to the Institute for Human-Animal Connection, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver for a new study, Exploring the impacts of animal-assisted interventions on positive youth development for adolescents in residential treatment. The study aims to better understand the clinical, behavioral and educational impacts of the Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) programs at Green Chimneys, a therapeutic school and treatment center for children facing social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

“In conducting this study, we hope to better understand the impacts of the Green Chimneys AAI programs on student outcomes from the perspectives of the students who regularly participate in them,” explained the study’s Principal Investigator, Kevin Morris, PhD, Director of Research of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection, University of Denver. “The findings from this project will be combined with an array of other qualitative and quantitative studies underway at Green Chimneys, which we hope will create a more detailed understanding of the impacts of these programs.”

The research team, led by Dr. Morris and Dr. Megan Mueller, Co-Director of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction, and including Erin Flynn, MSW, and Jaci Gandenberger, MSW, both from the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver, will conduct semi-structured interviews with 20 5th-7th grade Green Chimneys students across both residential and day programs. After conducting the interviews, key themes will be identified and reviewed for common meanings and then grouped together via identified constitutive content that links the themes to one another. These student themes will be combined with the findings of previous qualitative studies conducted with Green Chimneys teaching, clinical and animal program staff to create a nuanced understanding of the mechanisms by which the animal-assisted interventions impact specific clinical and educational goals. Researchers will also identify gaps in perceptions between student and staff groups that can be used to inform and optimize how the programs are utilized and studied. The goal of the study is to gather contextually rich information from multiple, unique perspectives on how the AAIs impact student self-regulation skills and positive youth development.

“Green Chimneys has a long history of being a model for therapeutic human-animal bond programs,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “In studying Green Chimneys, we hope to help inform the wider field of AAI by identifying potential clinical outcomes for positive youth development that can be applied in other youth development programs that incorporate companion animals.”

About Institute for Human-Animal Connection

The Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC) at the Graduate School of Social Work intentionally elevates the value of the living world and the interrelationship and health of people, other animals and the environment. They accomplish this through natural and social science-informed education, applied knowledge, research and advocacy, with an ethical regard for all species. socialwork.du.edu/humananimalconnection

About HABRI

HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit www.habri.org.

Contact

Jamie Baxter

jamie@theimpetusagency.com

775.322.4022

###

Press Releases
Amazon Sponsors the Human Animal Bond Research Institute

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that Amazon, a pet-friendly company and supplier of pet products, has become an official sponsor of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “Amazon’s support for HABRI and human-animal bond research demonstrates its commitment to the values of great pet care and the importance of pets in our lives,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “Amazon helps make it easy for us to care for our pets and, in turn, our pets contribute to our health and wellness.” Amazon customers can explore popular pet products, enjoy pet care tips, and create a profile for their pet in order to receive personalized recommendations and coupons. In addition to offering customers a wide selection of pet food, treats, toys, tech and more, Amazon has been dog-friendly since Day 1 at its Seattle headquarters where employees share their workspace with as many as 6,000 pupazonians each day. Scientific evidence increasingly shows that pets improve humans’ heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and educational development; and contribute to healthy aging. New research also shows that pet-supportive workplaces boost employee attraction, engagement and retention. When employers support pet owners, employees are more likely to feel highly connected to their company’s mission, become more fully engaged with their work and are more willing to recommend their employer to others. Additionally, employees at pet friendly workplaces are 52% more likely to report a positive working relationship with their boss and 53% more likely to report a positive working relationship with their co-workers, compared to just 14% and 19% among those in non-pet friendly environments. “Science demonstrates that pet-inclusive work environments help boost morale and encourage a culture of healthy collaboration and teamwork,” Feldman added. “Amazon is a leading pet-friendly...

Press Releases
New Research Says Therapy Dogs Are OK!

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today the publication of a study exploring the impacts of therapy dog sessions on the welfare of the dogs involved. Conducted by researchers at American Humane, findings of the study demonstrate that dogs did not show increased stress resulting from the therapy visits. Funded by HABRI and Zoetis, American Humane’s newly-released “Canines and Childhood Cancer Study,” is one of the largest human-animal bond studies focusing on the impact of animal-assisted interaction (AAI) on children with cancer and their parents, as well as the participating therapy dogs. “Results of this study demonstrate that dogs did not show increased behavioral or physiological stress, indicating that placing therapy dogs in this type of therapeutic setting does not cause undue stress to the animals,” said Amy McCullough, PhD and Principal Investigator, American Humane. “This research will help American Humane, HABRI and practitioners in the field to maintain the highest standards of animal welfare.” “This research project is important because now we have strong evidence that, with proper training and handling, the welfare of therapy animals in hospital settings is not adversely impacted,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “As more animals are deployed to help hospital patients, we can be confident that the dogs are OK!” Dr. McCullough, along with Ashleigh Ruehrdanz, MPH and Molly Jenkins, MSW of American Humane, supervised data collection on participating handler-dog teams at five children’s hospitals across the United States. The objective of the study in regard to participating canines was to determine the stress levels of therapy dogs during regular AAI sessions with pediatric oncology patients and their families. The research team videotaped each animal-assisted therapy session and coded the dogs’ behavior using an ethogram developed to capture affiliative and stress-related behaviors. The frequency...

Press Releases
New Study to Investigate Impact of Pets on Recovery of the Gut Microbiome Following Antibiotic Regimen in Older Adults

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a new research grant, titled “Sharing is caring: can pets protect their owners against antibiotic-associated disruption of the gut microbiome?”, to the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) to investigate whether pets are a source of microbiota that can help restore deficiencies in their owner’s gut microbiome. “A growing number of studies have documented the ability of animal contact to impact the human microbiome (collection of microbes in the intestines) in ways that may help prevent certain types of disease, such as cardiovascular disease and asthma,” said Dr. Laurel Redding, VMD, PhD, DACVPM, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Penn Vet, the project’s Principal Investigator. “In conducting this study, our goal is to shed light on the microbial exchanges that occur between pets and pet owners and assess whether pets can mitigate disruption of their owner’s gut microbiome following antibiotic therapy.” This groundbreaking project will follow pet owners over 60 years old who are taking antibiotics for dental implant placement. Antibiotics disrupt the native gut microbiome, which can result in a range of outcomes, from mild diarrhea to severe “C. diff” infection (infection with Clostridioides difficile), and the elderly are particularly at risk for some of these adverse outcomes. Recovery from this type of disruption is not well understood, and factors that promote this recovery are only beginning to be explored. Researchers hypothesize that the gut microbiomes of pet owners and their pets will resemble each other prior to the course of antibiotics, diverge during the disruption phase, then steadily converge during the recovery phase. In demonstrating that animal contact can yield beneficial effects on the restoration of the human gut microbiome, results of this study may reduce concerns about and even promote contact with household...

HABRI