"Nudging Them Back to Reality": Toward a Growing Public Acceptance of the Role Dogs Fulfill in Ameliorating Contemporary Veterans' PTSD Symptoms

Anthrozoos A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals (Impact Factor: 0.7). 12/2013; 26(4). DOI: 10.2752/175303713X13795775535896

ABSTRACT There is a long history of service dog usage to assist people with physical disabilities (e.g., dogs for the blind, deaf and disabled). In comparison, however, relatively little empirical research has been conducted into the use of service or emotional support dogs for people with psychiatric disabilities (e.g., PTSD, Bi-polar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Schizophrenia). Given this research shortfall, the present study sought to provide insights into the post-war dog ownership experiences of contemporary veterans from the Iraq & Afghanistan fields of engagement, particularly in relation to the differences adopted dogs have made to the veterans’ readjustment back into society. In this regard, reporters’ media accounts of the experiences of veterans with PTSD and the general public’s social media response comments were subjected to a triangulated three phase content analysis to explore the role dogs seemingly play in helping contemporary veterans to readjust to civilian life. The core theme to emerge from the study was one of: ‘Nudging them back to reality’: Towards a growing public acceptance of the role dogs fulfil in ameliorating contemporary veterans’ PTSD symptoms. In light of the difficulties of interpreting the accounts of veterans through the filter of media coverage and social commentary, this core finding may prove to provide insights into how contemporary veterans diagnosed with PTSD utilize the assistance of dogs to help deal with their fundamental human needs for safety, affiliation and succourance. Finally, the difficulties associated with dogs as therapeutic agents are discussed.

298 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate the relation between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and perceived physical health. Participants included 3,682 Gulf War veterans and control subjects of the same era who completed a telephone survey about their health status. PTSD was assessed using the PTSD Checklist-Military Version. Veterans screening positive for PTSD reported significantly more physical health symptoms and medical conditions than did veterans without PTSD. They were also more likely to rate their health status as fair or poor and to report lower levels of health-related quality of life. The results of this study are consistent with studies of other combat veterans and provide further support for an association between PTSD and adverse physical health outcomes. Stressful or traumatic life events, such as those encountered during a rapid military deployment and conflict, are associated with a variety of adverse health effects. These health effects may manifest themselves in both psychological and physical outcomes. Health care providers must be attentive to recognize and evaluate both of these dimensions.
    Psychosomatics 05/2002; 43(3):195-205. DOI:10.1176/appi.psy.43.3.195 · 1.86 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In a series of studies we used attachment theory as a framework to examine human–pet relationships. We proposed that, as in interpersonal relationships, people differ in their degree of anxious or avoidant attachment to their pets, and that these individual differences influence pet-related cognitions, emotions, and behavior. We constructed a self-report scale, the Pet Attachment Questionnaire (PAQ), and examined its factorial structure, associations with attachment patterns in human relationships (Studies 1–2), relation to explicit and implicit expectations concerning a pet (3–4), and reactions to the loss of a pet (5). We found that individual differences in pet attachment do occur in the domains of attachment anxiety and avoidance, and these differences contribute uniquely to the prediction of expectations about the pet and emotional reactions to its death.Highlights► A scale tapping pet attachment was built. ► People differ in anxious and avoidant attachment to pets. ► These variations are related to pet-related cognitions and behavior.
    Journal of Research in Personality 08/2011; 45(4):345-357. DOI:10.1016/j.jrp.2011.04.001 · 2.00 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this article, the author reviews the studies in this special issue of the American Behavioral Scientist. It is a strong collection of articles reporting findings from an integrated project that looks at frame building, frames, and effects of frames. The project is part of an exciting large-scale Swiss research program on democracy, NCCR. The author reflects not only on the contents of the issue but also on the framing concept in political communication research more generally. He offers suggestions for conceptual clarity and makes three recommendations about future framing research. They pertain to (a) the types of frames that framing researchers look at, (b) the dynamics of framing effects, and (c) advances in research designs in framing research.
    American Behavioral Scientist 02/2012; 56(3):365-375. DOI:10.1177/0002764211426331 · 0.69 Impact Factor
Show more