Animal-Assisted Therapy for Youth: A Systematic Methodological Critique

Dana. K. May1, Nicholas P. Seivert1, Annmarie Cano1, Rita J. Casey1 & Amy Johnson2

1Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
2Teacher's Pet: Dogs and Kids Learning Together and Oakland University Animal Assisted Therapy Certificate Program

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) for youth has the potential to benefit both physical and mental health outcomes. Yet little is known about the extent to which study designs in this area are aligned with established standards of intervention research. This critical review assesses current research methodologies focusing on AATs for youth with physical and mental health concerns. The main aims of this review are to advance the knowledge base of empirically supported treatments and identify next steps that researchers can take to secure the place of AATs as sound and valid interventions for youth.

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Keywords: AAT, Animal-Assisted Therapy, children, review, youth
Posted in 2016, Volume 4, No. 1