Article

The effects of group and individual animal-assisted therapy on loneliness in residents of long-term care facilities

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Abstract

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has been shown to reduce the loneliness of residents in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). In this study, we determined the relative contribution of socialization (human-human bonding) and human-animal bonding as mechanisms by which AAT reduces loneliness. Residents in LTCFs volunteering for AAT were randomized to receive AAT as individuals (Individual) or in groups of two to four (Group). Individual AAT was used as a measure of animal-human bonding, and Group AAT was used as a measure of the combination of animal-human bonding and socialization. Any greater effect of Group AAT in comparison to Individual AAT would be ascribed to socialization. Thirty-seven residents of LTCFs, who were cognitively intact, volunteered for AAT, and scored as significantly lonely on the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3), were studied. Six weeks of AAT, one 30-minute session per week, in an individual or group setting was performed, with posttesting during week five. Two residents dropped out of each group, giving us group sizes of 17 (Individual) and 16 (Group). A two-way ANOVA showed a statistically significant effect of pretest vs. posttest scores (F 25.3, p < 0.001), with no effect of Group vs. Individual or of interaction. Newman Keuls post-hoc tests showed that the pretest scores for Individual and Group participants did not differ There was a significant difference between pretest and posttest scores for Individual participants (p < 0.05) but not for Group participants. There was no difference between the posttest values for Individual vs. Group. When the data from all 33 participants were combined, Delta scores (pretest minus posttest), correlated positively (P < 0.01) with pretest scores, showing that lonelier individuals benefited more from AAT In conclusion, AAT was more effective in improving loneliness in residents of LTCFs when given individually than in a group situation. Therefore, the main effect of AAT was not mediated by socialization.

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... For those who are more mobile, an animal could also be made available in a common room, allowing for the benefits of group interaction, including socialisation and facilitation of friendships. While it has been suggested that the individual format is more efficacious (Banks & Banks, 2005), fostering socialisation and physical movement is crucial but is often challenging and overlooked (Hawkins & Domingue, 2012). As such, a mix of both formats could be introduced for those that are able to attend group sessions to promote interaction between individuals. ...
... The type of interaction is also important, with caring for or being more involved with the animal reported to be more beneficial than passively watching or petting alone (Vrbanac et al., 2013). Interestingly, AAI has been found to be more effective on loneliness when applied as a one-on-one intervention in comparison to a group format (Banks & Banks, 2005). This suggests that socialisation is not crucial to the benefit of decreased loneliness from AAI, which is particularly promising for those who are more severely immobile or bedridden. ...
... Of the 44 studies, 19 studies were RCTs. Of the 19, five RCTs were excluded, three due to unavailable data (Bickmore, Caruso, Clough-Gorr, & Heeren, 2005;Clarke, Clarke, & Jagger, 1992;Routasalo, Tilvis, Kautiainen, & Pitkälä, 2009) and two with comparative intervention groups (Banks & Banks, 2005;McAuley et al., 2000) (Fig. 1). The included primary studies ranged in dates from 1985 (Andersson, 1985) to Hind et al., 2014. ...
... Participants (P): The 19 RCTs included participants living in the community (n = 13) and participants in residential care facilities Pooled ES social support (excluding Banks & Banks, 2005;Bickmore et al., 2005;Clarke et al., 1992) 0.13 (−0.17, 0.43) Banks & Banks, 2005;Bickmore et al., 2005;Clarke et al., 1992;Routasalo et al., 2009;McAuley et al., 2000) (n = 5) or rehabilitation units (n = 1). The youngest mean age was 64 years old (friendship development) (Kremers, Steverink, Albersnagel, & Slaets, 2006) and the oldest mean age was 80.9 years in a friendship support intervention (Hind et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Ageing is associated with social isolation and loneliness and can have deleterious effects on older persons’ mental and physical well-being. Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses have been published on interventions addressing loneliness and social isolation among older persons living in the community or residential care. The present study is an umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses targeting loneliness in older persons living in community/residential care settings using an adapted Joanna Briggs umbrella review methodology. A systematic electronic search of 12 databases was conducted using search terms synonymous with aged, intervention, social isolation, loneliness, and systematic review for the period 2000–2017. Two reviewers independently screened and selected relevant reviews and assessed the quality of the reviews using the AMSTAR 2. Sixteen reviews of varying quality were identified and included. The 16 reviews focused on eInterventions, non-eInterventions or interventions including both. Due to the heterogeneity of both the reviews, and the included primary studies, the primary studies within the reviews meeting the study criteria were extracted and classified according to the focus of the intervention. Nineteen unique RCT primary studies were extracted and effect sizes calculated for 14 RCTs for outcome scales and different modes of offering interventions addressing loneliness in older persons. There was limited effect on loneliness with effect sizes ranging from −1.23 (CI95 −1.67, −0.78) to 0.44 (CI95 0.13–0.76) with the greatest effect size in a social cognition intervention. The outcome suggests that both high quality reviews with greater homogeneity and homogenous primary studies in loneliness are required.
... Uzun dönem bakım kurumlarında ortaya çıkan kısıtlamalar, kişisel aidiyetin kaybı, sahip olunan şeylerin kaybı (evcil hayvanlar dahil); ve toplum temelli sosyal etkileşim olanaklarının kaybı ile ilgilidir. Bu tür kısıtlamalar ise, bireyde depresyon, yalnızlık ve sosyal izolasyona neden olabilmektedir (Savishinksy 1985;Arkow 1992;Banks & Banks 2005). ...
... Çalışma bulgularına göre, evcil hayvanlarla etkileşim düzeyi yüksek olan bakımevi sakinlerinin, diğerlerine göre yalnızlık duygusunu daha az deneyimledikleri görülmüştür Bunun yanında yine bakım kurumlarında gerçekleştirilen ve evcil hayvanların grup ve birey üzerindeki etkilerinin incelendiği benzer bir çalışmada, grup içerisindeki sakinlerin yalnızlık düzeyleri ile evcil hayvan etkileşimleri arasında anlamlı bir bağlantı bulunamamıştır, bunun nedeni ise aynı çalışmada, duyma problemleri, söz konusu hayvana tanıdık olmama ve uyumsuzluk olarak gösterilmiştir. Bunlar daha açık bir ifade ile, duyma problemi olan sakinlerin birbirleri ile etkileşime geçmekte zorlanmaları, ve gruba uyum sağlayamamaları ile ilişkilendirilmiştir (Banks & Banks 2005). ...
... Moreover, research has pointed to underlying mechanisms that may explain how integrating animals in the therapeutic process can have additive positive effects (Beetz, Uvnäs-Moberg, Julius, & Kotrschal, 2012). Numerous studies indicate that the presence of an animal leads to reduced fear (e.g., Barker, Pandurangi, & Best, 2003;Cole, Gawlinski, Steers, & Kotlerman, 2007;Hoffmann et al., 2009;Lang, Jansen, Wertenauer, Gallinat, & Rapp, 2010), promotes calmness (Crowley-Robinson, Fenwick, & Blackshaw, 1996;Perkins, Bartlett, Travers, & Rand, 2008), and improves mood and prosocial behaviors (e.g., Banks & Banks, 2005;Colombo, Buono, Smania, Raviola, & De Leo, 2006;Marr et al., 2000;Nathans-Barel, Feldman, Berger, Modai, & Silver, 2005). Furthermore, interacting with animals is associated with stress buffering effects on a behavioral (Hansen, Messinger, Baun, & Megel, 1999) and physiological level (e.g., Beetz et al., 2011;Cole et al., 2007;Handlin et al., 2011;Odendaal & Meintjes, 2003). ...
... 25 Additionally, a review of the reference lists of the retrieved papers provided 45 additional citations, three of which could not be located in full text. [26][27][28] This left 255 papers which were reviewed for eligibility and of them eight met the inclusion criteria for the effectiveness review [29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36] two met the requirements for the meaningfulness review 37 38 and no papers met the criteria for the appropriateness review. There were also no papers that met the inclusion criteria for this review. ...
... Martin and Farnum, (2002) examined that kids with pervasive developmental disorders (including autism) were more playful in interaction with a live dog compared to toys, and also more aware of their social environment in the presence of the dog Kaminski et al. (2002) found that Animal Assisted therapy (AAT) helped in reducing the heart rate of the hospitalized children and had more positive effect, while this was not the case in play therapy. Banks (2002Banks ( , 2005 conducted two controlled studies on patients in long-term care facilities, to see the effect of animal visitation program. It was seen that the programs reduced feelings of loneliness in the patients. ...
Research
Full-text available
The aim of this study is to find out the effect of human and animal bond on emotional regulation and level of depression. From ages the relationship has been formed between humans and animals based on work, sports and companionship. These animals affect us in lot of ways and they become important part of our family portraits. To see this, sample was taken of 60 adolescents (18-25) out of which, 30 who owned the pet and 30 who did not own the pet, by using Emotional regulation questionnaire (ERQ) and Beck's depression inventory (BPI). The result shows no significant correlation among pet owners and non-pet owners. Thus, other factors also play a major role and further research needs to be done.
... 25 Additionally, a review of the reference lists of the retrieved papers provided 45 additional citations, three of which could not be located in full text. [26][27][28] This left 255 papers which were reviewed for eligibility and of them eight met the inclusion criteria for the effectiveness review [29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36] two met the requirements for the meaningfulness review 37 38 and no papers met the criteria for the appropriateness review. There were also no papers that met the inclusion criteria for this review. ...
Article
Background: Obtaining economic data on health care interventions and practices is extremely important, with the bulk of systematic reviews continuing to concentrate on the effectiveness of an intervention. Although popular, there is a scarcity of information available on the cost considerations associated with canine-assisted intervention programs for older population residing in long term care facilities. Objective: The aim of the review was to synthesise the best available evidence on the economic feasibility of canine-assisted interventions on the health and social care of the older population residing in long term care. Data sources: A comprehensive search was undertaken on 32 electronic databases from their inception to 2009. The search was restricted to English language and both published and unpublished studies were considered. An expert in the field, and various contacts from a reputable organisation involved in delivering programs, were also contacted to determine if any other papers or reports were available. Review methods: This review considered quantitative/economic research papers that addressed the feasibility of canine-assisted intervention programs used for older people residing in long term care. In the absence of research papers, text and opinion were considered. Critical appraisal and data extraction of papers was to be undertaken using the appropriate Joanna Briggs Institute instruments dependant on design. Results: There were no studies located that met the inclusion requirements of this review. There were also no text and opinion pieces that were specific to canine-assisted interventions, long term care settings and older people. Conclusion: The economic feasibility of a canine-assisted intervention program in a long term care facility remains largely unknown. The evidence is additionally hampered by a lack of scientific data to support whether canine-assisted interventions provide physical, emotional and social benefits to older people, particularly in the longer term. Implications for practice: Preliminary evidence from textual papers suggest long term care facilities that are contemplating introducing a program should consider the following aspects: the available resources the facility can offer (staff, time, resources, training), setup/changes to infrastructure, the mode of program delivery (independent, resident animal), insurance and liability and program evaluation. Regardless of cost, the preferences and safety of staff, residents' and their family should always be considered. Implications for research: Economic studies are urgently required to determine the feasibility of providing canine-assisted interventions in long term care settings.
... Consider just one example of AAT. Banks and Banks [6] examined the effects of certified therapy dog visits on cognitively intact older residents in long-term care facilities. Such residents have often lost partners and friends, lack access to social activities, and have chronic diseases. ...
Conference Paper
Robot pets are being developed and deployed to provide companionship for older adults. While robot pets offer some therapeutic benefits, their intended use for 'companionship' often provokes ethical debate, including concern that interactions with robot pets are demeaning or lack value compared to other social interactions. Another concern is that robot pets provide no real advantages over companion animals. This conceptual paper draws on philosophy, human-animal bond research, and technology development in robotics, to consider whether robot pets provide new opportunities for companionship as opposed to just 'reinventing the wheel'. We argue that robot pets may sometimes be as beneficial as companion animals or offer something different and distinctive. The paper provides a foundation for further multidisciplinary research to advance understanding of the ethical issues and the opportunities and challenges that arise in our ongoing and changing relationships with new technologies such as robot pets.
... apart from positively influencing physical activity and the flow of speech-related interactions, canine-assisted therapy has been shown to improve mental awareness and cognitive capacity, as well as diminish anxiety related to loneliness (Banks & Banks, 2005). Furthermore, Velde et al. (2005) wrote of communication being facilitated within a group setting. ...
Article
Developmental dysphasia (DD) is a disorder resulting in a communication impairment. Children diagnosed with this condition are usually referred to a speech therapist. Further to conventional speech therapy it is possible to adopt a complementary animal-assisted approach. For the present study, we assembled a cohort comprising 69 children diagnosed with DD. The children in the experimental group (n = 31; 21 male, 10 female) ranged from 4 to 7 years (M = 5.53 years, SD = 0.81 years). The control group was comprised of children (n = 38; 31 male, 7 female) aged from 4 to 6 years (M = 4.85 years, SD = 0.51 years). While the latter received traditional speech therapy, the experimental group experienced sessions enhanced by animal-assistance therapy (AAT) with a dog present for co-therapy purposes. As primary outcome measures, the Kwint-Stambak (KS) test was adopted (for assessing facial motricity), together with the Bruininks-Oseretsky (BO) test (for evaluating motor proficiency). Both of these revealed statistically significant improvement in some primary outcome measures for the experimental group over the control group. Regarding narrowing and shutting of the eyes, as well as filling up the cheeks with air and smiling (as measured by the KS test), the experimental group did significantly better than the control group. The inclusion of dogs in such therapy increased the chances of success in certain abilities, when assessed by the KS and BO tests (odds ratios for success: 1.6 and 2.0, respectively), compared with the control group. Canine-assisted speech therapy may be a valuable tool for enhancing the effect of speech therapy on children with DD, and we speculate that the reason for this relates to the nature of communication between children and companion animals.
... 28 Additionally, a review of the reference lists of the retrieved papers provided 45 additional citations, three of which could not be located in full text. [29][30][31] This left 255 papers which were reviewed for eligibility and of them, eight met the inclusion criteria for the effectiveness review, [32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39] and two met the requirements for the meaningfulness review. 10 40 There were no papers that met the inclusion criteria for this review. ...
Article
Executive summary: Background: Canine-assisted interventions are used frequently in long term care settings, even though their effectiveness has not been definitively proven. One concern commonly described in the literature is the risk of zoonotic infection or animal-related injury/allergy associated with this type of interaction. To date, no systematic review has been undertaken to determine the appropriateness of canine-assisted interventions in relation to these issues. Objective: The aim of the review was to synthesise the best available evidence on the appropriateness of canine-assisted interventions on the health and social care of the older population residing in long term care with regards to zoonotic infection or animal-related injury/allergy. Data sources: A comprehensive search was undertaken on 32 electronic databases and two reputable websites from their inception to 2009. The search was restricted to English language and both published and unpublished studies and papers were considered. Review methods: The review took an inclusive approach and considered quantitative and qualitative studies that focussed on zoonotic risk/exposure/infection or animal-related injury/allergy from canine-assisted interventions used in long term care settings. In the absence of research studies, text and opinion were also considered. Critical appraisal of papers was to be undertaken using the appropriate Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal instrument and data extraction was to be via the Joanna Briggs Institute data extraction forms, dependant on design. Results: There were no studies located the met the inclusion requirements of this review. There were also no text and opinion pieces that were specific to long term care, older people and canines. Conclusion: There is currently no evidence available to determine the appropriateness of canine-assisted interventions used for older people in long term care in regards to zoonotic risk/exposure/infection or animal-related injuries/allergies. There is a small body of literature available that focuses on health care but it is generalised and does not delineate between different age groups, settings or the animals used. Implications for practice: No conclusive recommendations can be made regarding the use of canine-assisted interventions in long term care in the context of zoonotic infection and animal-related injuries/allergies. Text and opinion suggests that if a health care facility of any kind is planning to implement or is currently running this type of intervention (using any animal for people of any age group) the following should be considered:Implications for Research: Quantitative and qualitative research studies are urgently required to determine whether there is an increased risk of zoonotic infections or animalrelated injuries/allergies for those people involved in canine-assisted interventions undertaken in long term care. Those at risk need to be identified in a systematic way.
... The presence of an animal can lead to increased social interaction in humans [15][16][17], acting as social facilitators and providing social support for humans [11,18,19]. A growing body of literature documents the effects of dogs and other animals on well-being in hospitals and nursing homes, such as reducing depression [20,21] and decreasing feelings of loneliness [22][23][24] in inpatients with dementia. However, results on mental health outcomes are mixed [25]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to investigate inpatient and staff member attitudes toward and experiences with ward cats, and identify possible mechanisms for how cats affect patient satisfaction in a psychiatric clinic. Thirty-three inpatients diagnosed with depression or psychosis residing on wards with and without cats and 17 staff members working on wards with cats participated in semi-structured interviews using a cross-sectional study design. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and correlations. The results showed that 17 out of 19 inpatients and all the staff members liked having a cat on their ward. Further, 12 out of 14 inpatients on wards without cats would like having a cat on their ward. Inpatient perceptions of the cat’s impact on the ward atmosphere correlated significantly with their emotional relationship with the cat (p = 0.015, r = 0.561), how often they saw the cat (p = 0.002, r = 0.676), and if they liked cats in general (p = 0.041, r = 0.486). Our results highlight the positive attitudes of inpatients and staff members toward ward cats and the potential of ward cats to enhance patient satisfaction. This influence might be mediated by factors such as the frequency of contact, the relationship between each patient and the cat, and each patient’s attitude toward cats in general.
... • Sessions once or twice per week • 90 min to 6 h per session • 3 to 72 weeks Animal Contact [62][63][64][65][66][67][68] (6 studies, 7 reports) Scheduled contact with an animal 1. Animal Contact: contact with an animal, usually a cat or dogs; animal simulations have also been used (e.g. a robotic seal). Activity with the animal is self-guided and may include talking to, holding, petting, playing with, grooming, or walking the animal on a leash. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Older adults are at risk for loneliness, and interventions to promote social connectedness are needed to directly address this problem. The nature of interventions aimed to affect the distinct, subjective concepts of loneliness/social connectedness has not been clearly described. The purpose of this review was to map the literature on interventions and strategies to affect loneliness/social connectedness for older adults. Methods: A comprehensive scoping review was conducted. Six electronic databases were searched from inception in July 2015, resulting in 5530 unique records. Standardized inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied, resulting in a set of 44 studies (reported in 54 articles) for further analysis. Data were extracted to describe the interventions and strategies, and the context of the included studies. Analytic techniques included calculating frequencies, manifest content analysis and meta-summary. Results: Interventions were described or evaluated in 39 studies, and five studies described strategies to affect loneliness/social connectedness of older adults or their caregivers in a qualitative descriptive study. The studies were often conducted in the United States (38.6%) among community dwelling (54.5%), cognitively intact (31.8%), and female-majority (86.4%) samples. Few focused on non-white participants (4.5%). Strategies described most often were engaging in purposeful activity and maintaining contact with one's social network. Of nine intervention types identified, the most frequently described were One-to-One Personal Contact and Group Activity. Authors held divergent views of why the same type of intervention might impact social connectedness, but social contact was the most frequently conceptualized influencing factor targeted, both within and across intervention types. Conclusions: Research to test the divergent theories of why interventions work is needed to advance understanding of intervention mechanisms. Innovative conceptualizations of intervention targets are needed, such as purposeful activity, that move beyond the current focus on the objective social network as a way to promote social connectedness for older adults.
... Our findings suggested that pet therapy improved the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Our results were indirectly in line with previous studies [17][18][19] . In explaining the effectiveness of pet therapy on positive symptoms of schizophrenia, it could be said that animals could be used to map human responses to the efforts of therapists during psychotherapy 20,21 . ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Pet therapy could help individuals improve their emotions; and physical and mental health. It also could be effective in the treatment of pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of pet therapy, concurrent with common medication on positive, negative, cognitive and motor symptoms of schizophrenia. Methods: This was a randomized control trial. Statistical population of the current study included all patients who were admitted to the Razi Psychiatric Center of Tehran and received a diagnosis of schizophrenia based on a clinical interview and DSM criteria by a psychiatrist. Thirty six patients were recruited using snowball sampling. Members of the experimental group were transported by a bus to that spot at 9 a.m on the planned days, in the company of the researcher and a nurse. Patients gave care of the rabbits (including feeding, tidying their cages, moving their cages) for 24 sessions of 90 minutes, three days per week during autumn 2016. The One-way covariance test was also used to evaluate effects of Pet therapy on positive, negative, cognitive and motor symptoms of schizophrenia. Results: finding indicated that considering scores of pre-test for positive, negative and cognitive symptoms, there is a significant difference between the two controls and experimental groups, respectively, (F = 17.04, p < 0.05), (F = 17.39, p < 0.05), (F = 152.12, p < 0.05). Conclusion: Pet therapy could be successfully applied by parents, psychologists and care givers of these patients. We suggest using pet therapy for treatment of other psychiatric disorders as well and preferably like dogs and cats.
... The subjects who changed their attitude prior to interacting with the dog (asking someone to open the window, brush their hair, or change their clothes) corroborate the findings of Souter and Miller (2007), who showed that AAI significantly reduces depression symptoms, and Banks and Banks (2005), who demonstrated a decrease in feelings of loneliness (particularly in individual visits). From this perspective, it is also possible to associate the psychological benefits with the decrease in the feelings of pain. ...
Article
Full-text available
Animal-assisted intervention (AAI) is an approach recently introduced into the hospital environment to improve the quality of hospitalization and provide important benefits for patients with chronic diseases and long-term hospitalizations. This work aims to verify the effects of animal-assisted activity (AAA) on the expression and quality of self-reported pain in hospitalized children and adolescents, while considering the subjects’ subjectivity. The participants were 17 hospitalized children/adolescents of both genders, aged 7 years and older, who complained of pain. Two therapy dogs were selected for the intervention according to the criteria of international protocols. The participants were asked an open question (“How would you describe your pain?”). After the question, an AAA session, which lasted between 5 and 10 min, was held with random activities spontaneously chosen by the subject. The open question was asked again at the end of the session, without the presence of the dog. Positive effects were observed in this population with regard to a decrease in self-reported pain. These results suggest that there is a possible symbolic elaboration of pain by the subject, in which the dog might represent acceptance and affection at a moment of great emotional suffering.
... Un estudio mostró que los residentes de una institución geriátrica que habían recibido sesiones de terapia con perros evidenciaron una disminución significativa de sentimientos de soledad (Banks & Banks, 2002). Posteriormente, los mismos autores realizaron un estudio similar donde compararon el efecto de estas intervenciones en sesiones semanales de 30 minutos, a nivel grupal e individual, encontrando mayor disminución en sentimientos de soledad en los participantes que habían recibido sesiones individuales; los autores concluyeron destacando que las visitas de los animales podían disminuir los sentimientos de soledad per se, en lugar de a través de la facilitación de las interacciones con otros miembros del grupo (Banks & Banks, 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
Las Intervenciones Asistidas por Animales son utilizadas como una forma de terapia complementaria desde hace poco más de cincuenta años. Se revisan las publicaciones científicas sobre investigaciones empíricas que hayan empleado perros en el trabajo psicoterapéutico, principalmente con adultos mayores, tomando como guía el enfoque multimodal de Lazarus. En base a este modelo, se proponen intervenciones asistidas con perros que pueden resultar potencialmente beneficiosas para esta población. Se destaca la relevancia del enfoque multimodal para el diseño de intervenciones y programas terapéuticos.
... One intervention that has been utilized in counselling and clinical settings yet overlooked in the work context is interaction with animals, known as animal-assisted activity (AAA). There is a wealth of research that documents positive benefits for people that result from interacting with animals (e.g., Anderson & Urichuk, 2003;Banks & Banks, 2005;Baun & McCabe, 2000;Kruger & Serpell, 2006), yet very little is known about application and effectiveness of this intervention at work and in relation to work outcomes, especially in Mexico. ...
Thesis
Stress has been identified by the World Health Organization as a plague of the 21st century around the world and specifically in Mexico. Organizations and researchers continue to seek effective interventions. One potential intervention is animal-assisted activity. As businesses in Mexico have become increasingly dog-friendly, an important question is, can dogs bring employees benefits in organizational settings by reducing stress and improving mood? This study examined the impact of a therapy dog intervention with teambuilding activities as a method for lowering employee stress levels and improving employee moods in Mexican organizations. A quasi-experimental study with a mixed methods design (3x2) was performed: three groups (control, social gathering, and therapy dog) as the between independent variable per two time frames as the within dependent variables (before intervention and after intervention). Results showed that the group that interacted with the dogs reported the lowest levels of stress, anxiety, anger, and sadness. Furthermore, the participants who interacted with the dogs felt happier. This study provides empirical evidence that dogs can be used in Mexican organizations as a simple model of intervention to decrease stress and increase well-being. Generalizing the use of therapy dogs to a work context with teambuilding activities is a viable and effective intervention. What if organizations that stay open 24/7 adopt a dog? Organizations will benefit from human-animal interaction while helping with a social problem by giving an abandoned animal a new home. Keywords: Stress, therapy dogs, Mexico, Canada, mood, anxiety, anger, sadness, happiness, human-animal interaction, animal-assisted activity, dog-friendly
... However, two studies (one weighted high, one low) found only partial support [60,85] and three studies (one high, two medium) found no significant effects [53,83,84]. Similarly, while previous research has linked contact with animals to reduced loneliness [5,95], acquisition of a fish tank had no effect this outcome among older adults after six months (although the only study to explore this outcome was weighted low for strength of evidence, and had substantial risk of bias) [60]. As is common with research into HAI [25,26] however, many studies had small sample sizes and thus may have been underpowered. ...
Article
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Background: Most research into the health benefits of human-animal interaction has focused on species that interact physically with humans, such as dogs. This may be unsuitable for certain populations for reasons including accessibility and the risk of negative consequences to both the person and the animal. However, some research has associated viewing fish in aquariums with positive well-being outcomes; as there is no physical contact with the animal, this form of interaction carries less risk. At present, little is known about the specific benefits of human-fish interaction. Objectives: To explore current evidence relating to the psychological and physiological benefits of interacting with fish in aquariums. Methods: Systematic searches were conducted to identify relevant primary research of any design. All forms of interaction were considered, including keeping fish as companion animals and fish aquarium-based interventions. "Non-live" alternatives, such as videos, were also considered. This review was conducted according to a registered protocol (PROSPERO ID: CRD42018090466). Results: Nineteen studies were included. Two provided tentative evidence that keeping home aquaria is associated with relaxation. The remaining studies involved novel interactions with fish in home or public aquariums. Outcomes relating to anxiety, relaxation and/or physiological stress were commonly assessed; evidence was mixed with both positive and null findings. Preliminary support was found for effects on mood, pain, nutritional intake and body weight, but not loneliness. All studies had methodological issues and risk of bias was either high or unclear. Conclusions: Review findings suggest that interacting with fish in aquariums has the potential to benefit human well-being, although research on this topic is currently limited. Future research should aim to address gaps in the evidence, such as whether and how the type of human-fish interaction can influence well-being outcomes. Researchers should also aim to address the methodological concerns highlighted in this review.
... Several studies have found positive effects of sociable robots in these application domains. Robots in elderly care have been compared to animal-assisted therapy, which reduce the loneliness that some elderly feel [1]. Furthermore, significant learning gains have been found in test scores in a second language learning experiment conducted with robots [2]. ...
Conference Paper
Sociable robots are slowly entering domains such as education and healthcare. As we are exposing our youth and elderly to these new intelligent technologies, it is important to understand their perception and attitudes towards robots. This study investigates the differences between elderly and young adults in ascribing mind perception to a sociable humanoid robot. Both subjective and behavioral measurements were employed to investigate the differences. Several trends were found; elderlies attributed higher scores of mind perception to the robot, whereas young adults seemed to have a more positive attitude towards it. Elderlies seemed to apply human social models of interaction, whereas young adults perceived a master-slave relationship between humans and the robot. Furthermore , a significant positive correlation was found between mind perception and attitude toward the robot for both groups.
... Research from one study indicated that there was no significant difference in loneliness reduction among residents who received once weekly or three times weekly AAT sessions, which is significant provided the practical implications for LTCFs with limited resources (Banks & Banks, 2002). Both individual and group therapy were effective (Banks & Banks, 2005). The desire for residents to participate was related to past life experience of pet ownership. ...
Article
Presently there is little analytical research examining practical interventions to address loneliness in long-term aged care. Thus, a review of the literature was conducted to identify and examine the usefulness of current interventions. A broad range of activities were found to benefit lonely residents. Animal-assisted therapy was the most widely implemented strategy and was both appropriate and effective for cognitively impaired and non-impaired residents. Collaborative group approaches to improve cognitive aging were highly beneficial to residents as was indoor gardening, group use of game consoles and increased social contact with family or friends mediated via videoconferencing. Continued innovation and adaptation of practices to provide stimulation and increase social connectedness are needed, in conjunction with rigorous research methodologies, to determine effectiveness and appropriateness of those interventions to reduce loneliness for residents in long-term care facilities.
... Physical activity interventions have been found to increase social functioning in older adults, but were not effective in reducing social isolation or loneliness, or increasing social support (see meta-analysis by Shvedko, Whittaker, Thompson, & Greig, 2018), suggesting a need for interventions involving more than completing activities as a group. Other interventions with significant reductions in loneliness include humor therapy (Tse et al., 2010), mindfulness-based stress reduction (Creswell et al., 2012), and studies involving human-animal interaction (Banks & Banks, 2005). In the absence of community or face-to-face social programs, researchers have found computer and internetbased programs hold a moderate treatment effect for reducing loneliness (Choi, Kong, & Jung, 2012). ...
Article
Objectives Research suggests a link between loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Multiple studies have examined treatment programs for loneliness; however, none have examined the efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for depression and anxiety in reducing loneliness. Methods Change in loneliness in sixty-two older adults (≥60 yrs; 65% female) who took part in a previously reported randomized controlled trial for the treatment of comorbid depression and anxiety was examined. Older adults were randomized to a 12-week group CBT or waitlist control condition. Participants who took part in CBT were followed-up three months later. Results Linear Mixed Model analyses indicated that after controlling for baseline cognition, depression, and anxiety, participants who completed CBT experienced a significant decrease in loneliness while the control group did not. This reduction was maintained at follow-up. Conclusions CBT programs for depression and anxiety are likely to be effective at reducing loneliness. This may be due to shared underlying cognitive and behavioral mechanisms between loneliness, depression, and anxiety such as sensitivity to perceived threat and social withdrawal. Further research is needed to understand if specific loneliness interventions are more effective. Clinical Implications CBT may be effective at reducing loneliness among older adults with depression and anxiety.
... Studies have also shown that pets provide psychological and mental health benefits in relation to anxiety, depression (Wood et al., 2005), stress (Allen et al., 2002), loneliness (Banks and Banks, 2005), and bereavement (Bolin, 1987). Pet ownership is positively associated with companionship (Siegel, 1993), social contact and interaction (Wood et al., 2005), social support (Garrity and Stallones, 1998), emotional health (e.g. ...
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Ticks are vectors of pathogens affecting companion animals and can cause tick paralysis, anaemia, dermatitis, and secondary infections. In Australia, there is currently only one known tick-borne pathogen of companion animals. Babesia canis vogeli is transmitted by Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato (s.l.) (brown dog tick). This tick species is a potential vector of Babesia gibsoni and Anaplasma platys, which are putative tick-borne pathogens that require vector transmission studies. The lack of recognised tick-borne pathogens in Australia is likely due to the lack of research on pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and protozoa in Australian ticks. Twenty ixodid (hard tick) species have previously been recorded on dogs, cats, and horses in Australia, including Rhi. sanguineus s.l., Ixodes holocyclus (eastern paralysis tick), and Haemaphysalis longicornis (the common name in Australia is bush tick and the common name in Asia is Asian longhorned tick), which are known and putative vectors of tick-borne pathogens. Since there have been few tick surveys in Australia since the mid-twentieth century, a nationwide survey of ixodids (Acari: Ixodidae) was conducted to identify tick species that parasitise dogs, cats, and horses. Ticks were morphologically examined to determine species, instar, and sex, and the collection locations of the different tick species were mapped using QGIS software. The companion animal owners responded to questionnaires and descriptive statistics were summarised. A total of 4,765 ticks were identified from 7/8 states and territories in Australia. Overall, 220 larvae, 805 nymphs, 1,404 males, and 2,336 females of 11 tick species were identified from 837 companion animal hosts. One novel host record was obtained for Ixodes myrmecobii, which was found on Felis catus (domestic cat) in the town of Esperance, Western Australia. The most common tick species identified included Rhi. sanguineus s.l. on dogs (73%), I. holocyclus on cats (81%), and Haem. longicornis on horses (60%). However, some ticks that were excluded from the study in Chapter 2, Subsection 2.2, could not be identified based on morphology alone. Sanger sequencing of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (COI) was performed to confirm their species identity. The species identified included three Ixodes trichosuri nymphs, three Haemaphysalis sp. genotype 1 and one Haemaphysalis sp. genotype 2 (potentially novel species), and Haemaphysalis lagostrophi. Since little is known about bacteria and apicomplexan parasites in Australian ticks, genomic DNA was extracted from a subset of the ticks collected from dogs, cats, and horses (n = 711) for microbial identification. All 711 tick extracts were screened for apicomplexans at the 18S rRNA gene (18S) with conventional PCR (cnPCR) and Sanger sequencing, and n = 655 tick extracts were screened for bacteria with cnPCR and amplicon next-generation sequencing (NGS). For the amplicon NGS screening, the aim was to detect bacterial pathogens, tick-associated bacteria with unknown pathogenicity (including endosymbionts), and novel species. Therefore, the 16S rRNA gene (16S) was targeted with cnPCR for amplicon NGS. Hypervariable regions V1-2 of 16S were sequenced on the MiSeq (Illumina) platform. Reads were processed using USEARCH v10.0 and denoised into zero-radius operational taxonomic units (ZOTUs). Taxonomic assignments were made using the QIIME2 feature classifier and the Greengenes, RDP Classifier, and SILVA 16S databases, and taxonomic assignments were cross-checked against the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) non-redundant nucleotide (nr/nt) database with the BLAST® command line tool. Dominant and prevalent bacterial species included “Candidatus Midichloria spp.”, Coxiella massiliensis, Coxiella spp., and Rickettsia spp. Tick-associated and haemotropic pathogens included An. platys and “Ca. Mycoplasma haematoparvum” in Rhi. sanguineus s.l. (6.9% and 0.6% of n = 174, respectively), and Bartonella clarridgeiae and Coxiella burnetii in I. holocyclus (0.3% (1/334) for both pathogens). The prevalence of “Ca. Neoehrlichia australis” in I. holocyclus (8.4%, 28/334) was significantly higher than the prevalence of “Ca. Neoehrlichia arcana” in I. holocyclus (2.1%, 7/334) (2 = 13.3, p < 0.0005). The bacterial diversity metrics differed for tick species, ecoregions, instars, and host species, but there was a lack of statistical support for feeding status for most tick species. Inconsistencies in taxonomic assignments across Greengenes, RDP Classifier, and SILVA highlights the need for validation of taxa with more comprehensive databases such as NCBI nr/nt. Future studies on tick microbiomes that use amplicon NGS would benefit from curated and quality-checked custom-built databases. As Rickettsia species could only be identified to the genus level with 16S NGS, Rickettsia-specific NGS was used for rickettsial species identification. The citrate synthase gene (gltA) assay enabled the identification of “Ca. Rickettsia tasmanensis” in Ixodes tasmani, a co-infection of “Ca. Ri. tasmanensis” and “Ca. Rickettsia antechini” in I. tasmani, “Ca. Rickettsia jingxinensis” in Haemaphysalis spp., Rickettsia gravesii in Amblyomma triguttatum triguttatum and I. holocyclus, and four Amb. t. triguttatum were co-infected with novel Rickettsia genotypes that were most similar (97.9-99.1%) to Rickettsia raoultii and Ri. gravesii. Phylogenetic analysis of near-full length 16S of Francisella and Legionellales species obtained by Sanger sequencing of 16S confirmed that the ZOTUs identified with 16S NGS included a novel Coxiellaceae genus and species in I. tasmani, two novel Francisella species in Amb. t. triguttatum, and two novel Francisella genotypes in Haemaphysalis spp. For the Apicomplexa screening, the aim was to determine the identity and prevalence of these organisms in the 711 tick extracts from dogs, cats, and horses. The ticks were screened for apicomplexan parasites using cnPCR and Sanger sequencing. First, a short region of the 18S rRNA gene (18S) was targeted for more sensitive cnPCR screening, then a longer region (>1 kb) of 18S was sequenced for species confirmation. The tick-borne pathogen Bab. c. vogeli was identified in two Rhi. sanguineus s.l. from dogs in the Northern Territory and Queensland (QLD). Theileria orientalis genotype Ikeda was confirmed by sequencing the major piroplasm surface protein gene p32, and was detected in three Haem. longicornis from dogs in New South Wales. Eight novel piroplasm and Hepatozoon species were identified and described and named as follows: Babesia lohae n. sp., Babesia mackerrasorum n. sp., Hepatozoon banethi n. sp., Hepatozoon ewingi n. sp., Theileria apogeana n. sp., Theileria palmeri n. sp., Theileria paparinii n. sp., and Theileria worthingtonorum n. sp. Additionally, a novel cf. Sarcocystidae gen. sp. sequence was obtained from I. tasmani, but could not be confidently identified at the genus level. An exotic tick-borne pathogen, Hepatozoon canis, was identified in I. holocyclus from a dog in QLD. The dog was located, and a blood sample was collected for Hep. canis screening. Hepatozoon canis gamonts were identified by blood smear examination, 18S sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis, which confirmed that the dog was infected with the parasite. This is the first published report of Hep. canis in Australia.
... Over the past several decades, mounting evidence has emerged for the health and well-being benefits associated with dog ownership [1][2][3] although this has not been universally accepted [4]. Benefits of dog ownership may manifest in several ways, including decreasing loneliness [5], providing emotional support through physical or psychologically difficult times (e.g., [6][7][8]), increasing the number of social contacts [9] and increasing activity levels as well as overall health (e.g. [10]). ...
Article
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Medical Alert Dogs (MADs) are a promising support system for a variety of medical conditions. Emerging anecdotal reports suggest that dogs may alert to additional health conditions and different people other than those that they were trained for or initially began alerting. As the use of medical alert dogs increases, it is imperative that such claims are documented empirically. The overall aims of this study were to record the proportion of MAD owners who have a dog that alerts to multiple health conditions or to people other than the target person and to determine whether any sociodemographic variables were associated with dogs alerting to multiple conditions, multiple people, or both. MAD owners completed an online survey that contained a series of forced choice questions. Sixty-one participants reported a total of 33 different conditions to which dogs alerted. Eighty-four percent of participants reported that their dog alerted to multiple conditions and 54% reported that their dog alerted to multiple people. This is the first study to document that a large percentage of people report that their MAD alerts to multiple conditions and/or to multiple people. We present a discussion of how these alerting abilities could develop, but questions about the underlying mechanisms remain.
... The conceptual distinction between emotional and social loneliness has underpinned the development of a variety of different measurements, and it has remained important for contemporary social surveys of older people (Gierveld & Van Tilburg, 2010;Victor et al., 2009), including residents living in care facilities (e.g., Banks & Banks, 2005;Prieto-Flores et al., 2011). According to Van Baarsen, Snijders, Smit, and van Duijn (2001), the distinction between emotional and social loneliness may be particularly relevant in the case of older people, because the probability of having or finding an intimate figure of attachment decreases with age. ...
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This future-oriented study examines the opportunities and challenges offered by social robots and communication technology when aiming to decrease emotional and social loneliness in older people residing in assisted living (AL). The paper draws on prior literature on loneliness, elder care and social robots. The aim is to scan the futures regarding technology support for the frail older people in future AL. The analytical frame was built on Robert Weiss’ division of relational functions: attachment, social integration, opportunity for nurturance, reassurance of worth, sense of reliable alliance, and guidance in stressful situations, and on a distinction between direct and indirect social robots. Our examinations show that social robots could tackle both emotional and social loneliness in assisted living by empowering people to engage in different forms of social interaction inside and outside the facility. However, ethical concerns of objectification, lack of human contact, and deception need to be thoroughly considered when implementing social robots in care for frail older people.
... Group-based as well as individual interventions have produced positive effects (e.g., Majic et al 2013; Travers et al 2013). Banks and Banks (2005) compared the effects of group vs. individual AAT sessions on self-reported loneliness in older adults residing in a long-term care facility. The authors reported greater effects for the individual interventions. ...
Chapter
Animal-assisted therapy is comprised of purposely-planned, human-animal interaction episodes intended to induce a variety of behavioral and physiological responses in various clinical populations and in normal population with special needs. Companion animals can cause stress-buffering effects and the enhancement of social functioning in the normal adult population. Also, pets seem to induce gains in social functioning among both cognitively intact and cognitively impaired older adults. Individuals with dementia exposed to animal-assisted therapy have shown reduced levels of behavioral disturbances. The effects sizes of these outcomes are compatible with clinically significant effects. No clear effects of animal-assisted therapy have been reported for activities of daily living and cognitive functioning, while effects on anxiety and depression may not be clinically significant. There is preliminary evidence to suggest that guided, short-term interventions delivered individually could help to maximize the effects of animal-assisted therapy for older adults. Main text Animals have been purposely used as agents to modify human behavior for centuries. Experimental and epidemiological evidence suggest that companion animals can buffer the relationship between stress and use of medical services, temporarily reduce the physiological components of stress, affect the rate of survival after cardiac arrest, and increase a variety of social responses. Interacting with animals seems to have stress-buffering and social enhancement effects. These potential mechanisms, when purposely integrated in formal interventions, may bring about a range of health benefits.
... Another possible explanation is that the client wants to fully enjoy the presence of the animal and make the most of the time provided for themselves. This is consistent with the findings of other studies [32,33], where the authors also evaluated individual AAIs as more beneficial than group AAIs. In addition, Nimer and Lundahl [33] state that, although not statistically significant, a meaningful difference in effect sizes favors the use of individual delivery of AAT compared with group delivery for emotional well-being outcomes. ...
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Although animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are increasingly part of comprehensive rehabilitation and many of its effects are already well described, the methodology for performing AAI depends on the specific patient, animal, and treatment objective. Acceptability of AAI from all involved members is a little explored area. Thus, 214 respondents (32 AAI clients, 146 family members, and 36 healthcare and social care workers; 98 males, 116 females; mean age 46.3 years (±16.5 SD)) completed a list of statements focused on AAI with a dog. This list was distributed directly in nursing homes, retirement homes, and in households with home hospice care. All statements were rated on a Likert scale of 0–3. The results show that AAI is generally very well received, with over 90% of respondents considering AAI to be beneficial. The perception of AAI and trusting the handler with their dog was evaluated very positively, as well as possible concerns about hygiene. The results were in many cases affected by demographic factors of the respondents (age, gender, role in AAI, education, and size of settlement). It seems appropriate in future studies to focus on the attitude of individual groups, and thus advance the methodology of implementing AAI.
... Until now, most studies on the effects of visiting dogs have concentrated on general effects on the mental wellbeing of the residents or on human behavioral problems shown outside the actual therapy sessions (e.g., Churchill et al. 1999;McCabe et al. 2002;Richeson 2003). Dog visits have been associated with a decrease in the feeling of loneliness in cognitively intact nursing home residents (Banks and Banks 2002;Banks and Banks 2005;Banks, Willoughby and Banks 2008) and found to reduce depressive symptoms (Le Roux and Kemp 2009;Travers et al. 2013), but other studies have not demonstrated these effects (Crowley- Robinson, Fenwick and Blackshaw 1996;Zisselman et al. 1996;Lutwack-Bloom, Wijewickrama and Smith 2005). Virues-Ortega et al. (2012), in a meta-analysis on the effects of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) on the psychological status in nursing home residents, reported only a limited effect. ...
Article
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Previous studies suggest that contact with dogs can positively affect the wellbeing of elderly people in nursing homes, but there is a lack of research investigating the causal pathways of these effects. One such path- way may relate to the behavioral responses of the elderly when interacting with a dog. The present study compared the immediate behavioral responses of nursing home residents to bi-weekly visits from a person accompanied by either a dog, a robot seal (PARO®), or a soft toy cat, using a randomized controlled design. A total of 100 nursing home residents com- pleted the study. Each participant received a total of 12 visits, during which their behaviors, including interactions between the visitor and the accom- panying animal (real or artificial), were recorded. Also, data on cognitive im- pairment, presence of depressive symptoms, age, time lived in the nursing home, dementia diagnoses, and gender were collected. We found that the immediate responses to, and interaction with, the visiting animal depended on the type of animal that was brought along. The dog and the interactive robot seal triggered the most interaction, in the form of physical contact (F(2,103) = 7.50, p < 0.001), eye contact (F(4,151) = 6.26, p < 0.001), and verbal communication (F(4,195) = 2.87, p < 0.05). As well, the cognitive impairment level of the residents affected with whom they interacted. The higher the cognitive impairment level, the more interaction was directed toward the animal and less toward humans, regardless of visit type (F(2,101) = 4.10, p < 0.05). The dogs and the robot seal stimulated the residents to more in- teraction, compared with the toy cat, but the robot seal failed to maintain the attention at the same level over time. The cognitive functioning of the residents correlated with the level of interaction, and this needs to be studied further.
... Similarly, in the second group of studies that compared pretest to post-test results for the same group of older adults who had received DAI, 10 studies also found no significant changes. Among studies that did detect significant changes from pretest to post-test, DAI was found to reduce loneliness (Banks, 2005;Vrbanac et al., 2013); reduce agitation (Richeson, 2003;Sellers, 2006); improve social functioning (Sellers, 2006); and improve quality of life (Karefjard & Nordgren, 2018; Significantly reduced agitation scores and improved social interaction compared to baseline ...
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Objective To comprehensively review studies on dog‐assisted interventions (DAIs) among older people in residential long‐term care facilities (RLTCFs) and to provide an overview of their interventions, outcomes and methodological quality. Method We searched 18 electronic databases to identify English articles (published January 2000–December 2019) reporting on well‐defined DAIs targeting older adults (≥65 years) in RLTCF. Data were extracted by two independent reviewers. Descriptive statistics were produced for quantitative studies, with key themes identified among qualitative studies. Where possible, estimates were pooled from randomised controlled trials using random effects meta‐analyses. Results Forty‐three relevant studies (39 quantitative; 4 qualitative) were identified. The majority of quantitative studies were assessed as low‐quality according to the MMAT criteria (n = 26, 67%). Almost half of the quantitative studies (n = 18, 46%) found no significant changes over time or between groups across outcomes measured. The most salient intervention effects included improved social functioning (n = 10), reduced depressive symptoms (n = 6) and loneliness (n = 5). A random‐effects meta‐analysis revealed a medium effect in favour of DAT on reducing depressive or loneliness symptoms (pooled SMD: 0.66, 95%CI 0.21–1.11; I² = 50.5; five trials), relative to treatment as usual. However, compared to treatment as usual, no overall effect of DAI on activities of daily living was detected (p = .737). Key themes from qualitative studies included (a) animals as effective transitional objects, (b) the therapeutic value of pets and (c) the significance of the care environment and stakeholders in facilitating DAI. Implications for practice The findings of this review indicate that while DAI has value for older people in RLTCF, challenges remain in accurately measuring its impact to provide a stronger evidence‐base. Standardisation of DAI service design, delivery and evaluation is required for future research and practice in providing holistic care for older adults.
... Similarly, interventions promoting hope can be especially useful for increasing the well-being and vitality of college students. Stress, hope, and loneliness are among the concepts that can be successfully changed through interventions (e.g., Banks & Banks, 2005;Caldwell, Harrison, Adams, Quin, & Greeson, 2010;Davidson, Feldman, & Margalit, 2012). Therefore, practitioners at college counseling services should give International Research careful consideration to these variables (stress, loneliness, hope, and vitality) in order to promote the well-being of college students. ...
... Several studies have found positive effects of sociable robots in these application domains. Robots in elderly care have been compared to animal-assisted therapy, which reduce the loneliness that some elderly feel [1]. Furthermore, significant learning gains have been found in test scores in a second language learning experiment conducted with robots [2]. ...
Chapter
Sociable robots are slowly entering domains such as education and healthcare. As we are exposing our youth and elderly to these new intelligent technologies, it is important to understand their perception and attitudes towards robots. This study investigates the differences between elderly and young adults in ascribing mind perception to a sociable humanoid robot. Both subjective and behavioral measurements were employed to investigate the differences. Several trends were found; elderlies attributed higher scores of mind perception to the robot, whereas young adults seemed to have a more positive attitude towards it. Elderlies seemed to apply human social models of interaction, whereas young adults perceived a master-slave relationship between humans and the robot. Furthermore, a significant positive correlation was found between mind perception and attitude toward the robot for both groups.
Article
Studies show the many positive medical effects of therapy dog interactions with patients. The Community Health Education Center, a library for patients and their family members located in a large medical center collaborated with the Dogs on Call, a hospital-based therapy dog program to provide a stress relief program for patients and staff using therapy dogs.
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Loneliness and social isolation are major problems for older adults. Interventions and activities aimed at reducing social isolation and loneliness are widely advocated as a solution to this growing problem. The aim of this study was to conduct an integrative review to identify the range and scope of interventions that target social isolation and loneliness among older people, to gain insight into why interventions are successful and to determine the effectiveness of those interventions. Six electronic databases were searched from 2003 until January 2016 for literature relating to interventions with a primary or secondary outcome of reducing or preventing social isolation and/or loneliness among older people. Data evaluation followed Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre guidelines and data analysis was conducted using a descriptive thematic method for synthesising data. The review identified 38 studies. A range of interventions were described which relied on differing mechanisms for reducing social isolation and loneliness. The majority of interventions reported some success in reducing social isolation and loneliness, but the quality of evidence was generally weak. Factors which were associated with the most effective interventions included adaptability, a community development approach, and productive engagement. A wide range of interventions have been developed to tackle social isolation and loneliness among older people. However, the quality of the evidence base is weak and further research is required to provide more robust data on the effectiveness of interventions. Furthermore, there is an urgent need to further develop theoretical understandings of how successful interventions mediate social isolation and loneliness.
Article
Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling is the most comprehensive book available dedicated to training mental health practitioners in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). It explains the history and practice of AAT in counseling, discusses the latest empirical research, and provides an in-depth explanation of the psychodynamics of AAT within various theoretical frameworks. Readers will learn the proper way to select, train, and evaluate an animal for therapy. The use of a number of different therapy animals is considered, including dogs, cats, horses, birds, farm animals, rabbits and other small animals, and dolphins. Guidelines for implementing AAT in settings such as private practices, community agencies, schools, hospices, and prisons are covered, as well as ethical and legal considerations, risk management, diversity issues, and crisis and disaster response applications. Numerous case examples illustrate the use of AAT principles with clients, and forms, client handouts, and other resources provide valuable tools. This unique resource is an indispensable guide for any counselor looking to develop and implement AAT techniques in his or her practice.
Chapter
Over the past two decades, criminological scholars have increasingly sought to determine “what works” to control crime and delinquency and whether these approaches should vary by gender. In fact, the 1992 reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act called for research designed to determine the needs of delinquent girls in particular, and to develop strategies to address these needs.
Article
Animal assisted activity (AAA) programs offer widespread physiological, social, and emotional benefits to recipient populations, particularly older adults. While AAA is common in nursing homes, it is less common in retirement residences where individuals are often suffering from the stress of relocating and transitioning to a more dependent lifestyle. PAWSitive Visits (PV) is a weekly AAA visitation program conducted in a group-setting at a Midwestern retirement residence that brings an array of domestic and exotic animal species for the residents to interact with. PV strives to provide educational opportunities for the residents, facilitating their social engagement, eliciting memories of previously owned pets, and offering intergenerational activities. It also provides meaningful learning experiences for students (e.g., nursing and veterinary medical students) who affiliate with the program. The conceptual model for PV is the threefold notion of attachment, reciprocity, and unconditional acceptance that animals offer older adults. PV is a unique and successful program, coordinated in a manner that ensures the health and safety of both animal and human counterparts, while providing residents with experiences that enhance their well-being.
Article
Unlabelled: Purpose of the study was to examine if animal-assisted activity with a dog (AAA) in home-dwelling persons with dementia (PWDs) attending day-care centers would have an effect on factors related to risk of fall accidents, with balance (Berg balance scale) and quality of life (Quality of Life in Late-stage Dementia) as main outcome. The project was conducted as a prospective and cluster-randomized multicenter trial with a follow-up. 16 adapted day-care centers recruited respectively 42 (intervention group) and 38 (control group with treatment as usual) home-dwelling PWDs. The intervention consisted of 30 min sessions with AAA led by a qualified dog handler twice a week for 12 weeks in groups of 3-7 participants. The significant positive effect on balance indicates that AAA might work as a multifactorial intervention in dementia care and have useful clinical implication by affecting risk of fall. Trial registrations: ClinicalTrial.gov; NCT02008630.
Chapter
Kapitel enthält: emotionale, soziale und ethische Aspekte von Berührungen; Placeboeffekte; Embodiment; Haus- und Therapietiere; Einsamkeit. - Abstract: Im medizinischen Kontext können von erforderlichen Berührungen, die einem medizinischen oder pflegerischen Zweck dienen, soziale Berührungen unterschieden werden. Diese, oft spontan auftretenden Berührungen, erfüllen soziale oder emotionale Funktionen. Soziale Berührungen können beruhigend, tröstend, angst-, schmerz- oder stressreduzierend wirken. Es besteht somit die Möglichkeit, soziale Berührungen im medizinischen oder pflegerischen Kontext gezielt zu diesen Zwecken einzusetzen.
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Tiergestützte Therapie mit Hunden ist eine wertvolle Ergänzung in der psychiatrischen stationären und ambulanten Versorgung. Mit diesem alternativen Zugang können im Einzel- und Gruppensetting Nähe und Sicherheit über ein anderes nicht menschliches Medium erfahrbar gemacht und basale Prinzipien der Verhaltenstherapie vermittelt werden.
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Past research fails to make connections comparing appropriate settings for the benefits of different species of therapy and resident animals in long-term care facilities specifically for the elderly. Two types of animal-assisted interactions (therapy and resident) and four animal species (birds, cats, dogs, and fish) were compared. The findings were sorted into five categories of benefits (behavioral, mental, physical, physiological, and social) and three additional structural variables (affordability, accessibility, and cons). Appropriate activities for each species were also suggested. The review revealed it is important for the facility to consider its budget, number and ailments of residents, type of preferred accessibility, and preferred goal. By being aware of different characteristics of each animal species, such as benefits and affordability, facilities would be able to make an informed decision when considering which animal-assisted intervention would be an appropriate fit for their residents.
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La relación humano-perro tiene una historia evolutiva particularmente extensa. Los primeros perros fueron utilizados como guardianes, guías y compañeros de caza, asumiendo luego roles cruciales en el desarrollo de la agricultura. Aunque tratados como subordinados, gradualmente fueron convirtiéndose en valorados compañeros. Actualmente constituyen el prototipo de animal de compañía, destacándose sus posibilidades de establecer una estrecha relación bidireccional con los humanos. Sin embargo, los vínculos entre humanos y animales han sido tradicionalmente excluidos de consideraciones académicas serias. Con el surgimiento de la antrozoología, hace poco más de 30 años, el estudio de las interacciones humano-animal comenzó su ininterrumpido crecimiento, principalmente en los países más desarrollados. Con el objetivo de describir la relación humano-perro en Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, se realizó un estudio transversal, mediante encuestas, que involucró a 425 participantes (hombres: 119; mujeres: 306) mayores de 21 años (M = 42.96, DE = 16.08), todos los cuales habían residido con sus perros de compañía por más de un año. Los participantes completaron un cuestionario sociodemográfico y seis medidas de la relación humano-perro: Interacción Dueño-Perro, Cercanía Emocional Percibida, Costos Percibidos, Antropomorfismo, Voluntad de Adaptación y Beneficios Percibidos. Todos los aspectos de la relación se asociaron entre sí excepto por Costos Percibidos, que sólo se asoció positivamente con la Voluntad de Adaptación y negativamente al Antropomorfismo. La tendencia al antropomorfismo fue el aspecto relacional que más se asoció con la percepción de relaciones humano-perro exitosas, en tanto resultó la única faceta de la relación asociada con la percepción de menores costos y de mayores beneficios. Por otro lado, el antropomorfismo no se relacionó con la cantidad de personas o hijos en la vivienda, mientras que sí lo hizo intensamente con la Cercanía Emocional Percibida. Las mujeres manifestaron mayores niveles de proximidad emocional y antropomorfismo, pero no difirieron de los hombres en las demás variables relacionales. La edad de los custodios se asoció con menor percepción de costos y de intensidad en las interacciones con el perro. La menor edad de los hijos se asoció con menor cercanía emocional y mayor percepción de costos. Los perros de mayor tamaño resultaron más beneficiosos, aunque no más costosos para sus custodios. La raza de los perros y su estado reproductivo no mostraron relación con la intensidad de la relación, más que una leve asociación entre raza de perro y comportamientos ligados a la identidad social o estatus del custodio. Los resultados destacaron que la relación con los perros era concebida como un vínculo de familia, de elevada proximidad afectiva e intensidad en las interacciones, por el que los custodios estaban dispuestos a afrontar múltiples costos. Las descripciones realizadas permitieron identificar estrategias para fomentar relaciones humano-perro más exitosas, así como intervenciones ligadas al bienestar de humanos y perros. En suma, esta investigación se propone contribuir a destacar la relevancia y legitimidad del estudio de las interacciones humano-animal.
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With the fast-growing aging population, dementia has become a health priority. However, in the past, medicine was largely dealing with physical disorders, and not enough knowledge and experience have been accumulated for mental health. The main and first symptom of this disorder is the loss of memory; hence, understanding the hippocampal formation is the key to tackling dementia. In 2007, a milestone book titled “Hippocampus Book” was published. One of the authors/editors is the 2014 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine, Professor John O'Keefe. It is a MUST-READ encyclopedia about the hippocampal formation, for those who wish to commit themselves to helping the patients with dementia. The formation consists of the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, subiculum, presubiculum, parasubiculum, and dentate gyrus. The hippocampus is further divided into CA1, CA2, and CA3. The entorhinal cortex is the gateway of receiving all sensory information from the neocortex, while the subiculum is the exit for the efferent projections to the neocortex. Memory is divided into short-term and long-term memory. The former does not require protein synthesis while the latter does. The electrophysiological activities of creating these memories are short-term potentiation and long-term potentiation respectively. In most cases, the entorhinal cortex is the first structure to be damaged, and even short-term memory cannot be created. However, all except spatial memory are stored in the neocortex. Damage to the hippocampal formation would not affect the storage and retrieval of memories. Hence, past memories may remain intact in the early phases of the disorder. This devastating progressive disease has no cure. However, the highly plastic hippocampal formation may offer us some hope. It is the responsibility of the pharmaceutical industries to develop new drugs. Clinicians should add their efforts to the endeavor. The author would suggest that they explore insulin-like growth factors, brain stimulation, cell transplantation, and animal-assisted therapy to find some innovative solutions to help patients with dementia. As the current status of neuroscience stands, the animal-assisted therapy seems to stand out among all methods. It alleviates symptoms and stabilizes the ailment.
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Context Pain is a primary reason individuals attend an Emergency Department (ED), and its management is a concern. Objectives Change in symptoms and physiologic variables at 3 time points pre-post a ten-minute St. John Ambulance therapy dog team visit compared to no visit in ED patients who experienced pain. Design, setting and participants Using a controlled clinical trial design, pain, anxiety, depression and well-being were measured with the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (revised version) (ESAS-r) 11-point rating scales before, immediately after, and 20 minutes post- therapy dog team visit with Royal University Hospital ED patients participating in the study (n = 97). Blood pressure and heart rate were recorded at the time points. Control data was gathered twice (30 minutes apart) for comparison (n = 101). There were no group differences in age, gender or ethnicity among the control and intervention groups (respectively mean age 59.5/57.2, ethnicity 77.2% Caucasian/87.6%, female 43.6% /39.2%, male 56.4%/60.8%,). Intervention 10 minute therapy dog team visit in addition to usual care. Main outcome measures Change in reported pain from pre and post therapy dog team visit and comparison with a control group. Results A two-way ANOVA was conducted to compare group effects. Significant pre- post-intervention differences were noted in pain for the intervention (mean change int. = -0.9, SD = 2.05, p = .004, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [0.42, 1.32], η p ² = 04) but not the control group. Anxiety (mean change int. = -1.13, SD = 2.80, p = .005, 95% CI = [0.56, 1.64], η p ² = .04), depression (mean change int. = -0.72, SD = 1.71, p = .002, 95% CI = [0.39, 1.11], ηp ² = .047), and well-being ratings (mean change int. = -0.87, SD = 1.84, p < .001, 95% CI = [0.49, 1.25], ηp ² = .07) similarly improved for the intervention group only. There were no pre-post intervention differences in blood pressure or heart rate for either group. Strong responders to the intervention (i.e. >50% reduction) were observed for pain (43%), anxiety (48%), depression (46%), and well-being (41%). Conclusions Clinically significant changes in pain as well as significant changes in anxiety, depression and well-being were observed in the therapy dog intervention compared to control. The findings of this novel study contribute important knowledge towards the potential value of ED therapy dogs to affect patients’ experience of pain, and related measures of anxiety, depression and well-being. Trial registration This controlled clinical trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, registration number NCT04727749 .
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Maintaining older adults’ independence as much as possible should always be at the centre of their care plans. This can be facilitated by giving older adults choice and involving them and their carers in developing and implementing care plans.
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Animal therapy has been shown to have both physiological and psychological benefits for older people, including improvements in outlook and social interaction. Volunteer-led animal visitation programmes are common within residential aged care facilities in New Zealand. Visits by animals and handlers are intended to improve the quality of life of people in residential care. Very little research has been conducted on the informal animal visitation programmes typical in care facilities in New Zealand. This project examined the experience of animal therapy in two residential aged care homes that receive animal visits from an animal welfare organisation. In-depth interviews were conducted with seven older people about their experiences of the programme and analysed using narrative analysis. Three overarching narratives were identified: animal therapy as a fleeting pleasure, residential care as a sad environment, and identity outside residential care as highly valued. Older people in residential care do value animal therapy, but it is narrated as a fleeting pleasure, rather than having a long-lasting or far-reaching impact on the daily experience of residential care. In some ways, the structure of the animal therapy programme may underscore the challenges to everyday autonomy and identity experienced in residential aged care. These findings can be used to develop animal visiting programmes which recognise the importance of a valued social identity in later life.
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Objectives Good social connection is associated with better health and wellbeing. However, social connection has distinct considerations for people living in long-term care (LTC) homes. The objective of this scoping review was to summarize research literature linking social connection to mental health outcomes, specifically among LTC residents, as well as research to identify strategies to help build and maintain social connection in this population during COVID-19. Design Scoping review. Settings and Participants Residents of LTC homes, care homes and nursing homes. Methods We searched MEDLINE(R) ALL (Ovid), CINAHL (EBSCO), PsycINFO (Ovid), Scopus, Sociological Abstracts (Proquest), Embase and Embase Classic (Ovid), Emcare Nursing (Ovid) and AgeLine (EBSCO) for research that quantified an aspect of social connection among LTC residents; we limited searches to English-language articles published from database inception to search date (July 2019). For the current analysis, we included studies that reported: (1) the association between social connection and a mental health outcome; (2) the association between a modifiable risk factor and social connection; or (3) intervention studies with social connection as an outcome. From studies in (2) and (3), we identified strategies that could be implemented and adapted by LTC residents, families and staff during COVID-19 and included the papers that informed these strategies. Results We included 133 studies in our review. We found 61 studies that tested the association between social connection and a mental health outcome. We highlighted 12 strategies, informed by 72 observational and intervention studies, that might help LTC residents, families and staff build and maintain social connection for LTC residents. Conclusions and Implications Published research conducted among LTC residents has linked good social connection to better mental health outcomes. Observational and intervention studies provide some evidence on approaches to address social connection in this population. Although further research is needed, it does not obviate the need to act given the sudden and severe impact of COVID-19 on social connection in LTC residents.
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Limited literature exists to guide social workers in the effective and ethical use of emotional support animals (ESAs) in practice. This article deals with practical issues these professionals face in dealing with requests for ESA authorization. The article provides an overview of relevant U.S. regulations (as of mid-2019) governing housing, travel, workplaces, and higher education; examines the uses, efficacy, and special concerns regarding ESAs; and presents recommendations for the use of ESAs in social work practice. Ethical implications for social workers dealing with client assessment and ESA authorization are discussed. The authors also address the intrinsic nature of human and ESA well-being and its relevance to client-centered social work practice. In addition, the authors discuss opportunities for incorporating ESAs into social work education.
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The article presents data from a study whose purpose was to establish whether there is a connection between the needs of a person in communicating with other people and the reasons for which he gets a pet, and also to determine whether there are differences in interpersonal needs in people who voluntarily and happily become the owner of a home animal and those who do not see themselves as owners. To determine the main reasons underlying the interaction of humans with animals, an author’s questionnaire was developed. As a result of mathematical data processing, significant relationships were established between different types of social needs and the reasons for animal ownership. In addition, the differences between the social needs of those who cannot imagine their life without pets and those who do not see themselves as owners of animals were analyzed.
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PurposeThe importance of both frequent and high-quality social connections is widely recognised. Previous reviews of interventions for promoting social connections found mixed results due to the inclusion of uncontrolled studies and merging of objective and subjective dimensions of social connections. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of interventions designed to promote ‘objective social contact’ and the ‘quality of social connections’; and compare the effectiveness of interventions from different theoretical orientations on these social dimensions through a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials.MethodsA systematic search of electronic databases Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and PubMed was conducted to identify randomised controlled trials of interventions for social isolation, loneliness, social participation and/or social connectedness in adults. Data were analysed using Stata V.16.0.ResultsFifty-eight studies met inclusion criteria (mean age = 62 years). Overall, interventions led to significant improvements in objective social contact (Hedges’ g = 0.43) and perceived quality of social connections (Hedges’ g = − 0.33). Increasing access to other people was the most effective strategy for promoting objective social contact (Hedges’ g = 0.67). Providing adults with skills to manage maladaptive attributional biases, fear-related avoidance of social situations, and barriers to social contact, was the most effective strategy for addressing deficits in perceived quality of social connections (Hedges’ g = − 0.53).Conclusion In summary, different interventions had differential effects on the frequency and quality of social relationships and associated emotional distress. Psychological interventions hold the most promise for increasing meaningful social connections and reducing distress.
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Dans le cas de personnes avec retard mental severe a profond, ou la communication verbale est limitee, voire absente, les interventions educatives et psychotherapeutiques conventionnelles n’apportent qu’une amelioration restreinte et soulignent le besoin d’approches innovatrices pour cette population. Bien qu’elle ne soit pas a proprement parler une nouvelle technique, la therapie assistee par l’animal est une methode d’intervention utilisee comme auxiliaire aux therapies conventionnelles, ou l’animal joue un role d’intermediaire entre le therapeute et la personne ciblee.Dans le cas de M. S., qui presente un retard mental severe et un trouble envahissant du developpement de type autisme infantile severe, la psychotherapie assistee par un chien a permis une baisse significative des troubles du comportement.
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Able-bodied people often exhibit behaviors that show them to be socially uncomfortable upon encountering a physically disabled stranger. These behaviors include less eye contact, gaze avoidance, greater personal distance, and briefer social interactions. This study examined whether persons in wheelchairs with service dogs receive more frequent social acknowledgement from able-bodied strangers than people in wheelchairs without dogs receive. Behaviors of passersby were recorded by an observer who followed a person in a wheelchair at a distance of 15 to 30 feet. Observations were made in public areas amid pedestrian traffic, areas such as shopping malls and a college campus. The behaviors of passersby to the person in a wheelchair, with or without a service dog, were recorded, including smiles, conversation, touch, gaze aversion, path avoidance, or no response. Results indicated that both smiles and conversations from passersby increased significantly when the dogs were present. These findings suggest that the benefits of service dogs for their owners extend beyond working tasks to include enhanced opportunities for social exchange. The service dogs substantially reduced the tendency of able-bodied people to ignore or avoid the disabled person.
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Casual conversations were recorded as elderly persons routinely walked their dogs through a familiar mobile home park in the United States. Control observations included walks without dogs by owners and non-owners of dogs. All owners talked to and about their dogs. Transcribed conversations indicated that dogs were a primary focus of conversation. A majority of sentences to dogs were imperatives; the owners were instructing the dogs. Dog owners frequently included dogs' names or nicknames in their sentences when they spoke to the dogs and made reference to the dogs' wishes or needs. Speaking to dogs was also associated with frequent repetition of sentences. Passersby talked to the owners about their dogs whether or not the dogs were present. When dog owners spoke with other people, their conversations often concerned activities that were occurring in the present, whereas conversations of non-owners focused on stories about past events. Dog owners reported taking twice as many daily walks as non-owners. Dog owners also reported significantly less dissatisfaction with their social, physical and emotional states.
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In this article I evaluated the psychometric properties of the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3). Using data from prior studies of college students, nurses, teachers, and the elderly, analyses of the reliability, validity, and factor structure of this new version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale were conducted. Results indicated that the measure was highly reliable, both in terms of internal consistency (coefficient alpha ranging from .89 to .94) and test-retest reliability over a 1-year period (r = .73). Convergent validity for the scale was indicated by significant correlations with other measures of loneliness. Construct validity was supported by significant relations with measures of the adequacy of the individual's interpersonal relationships, and by correlations between loneliness and measures of health and well-being. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that a model incorporating a global bipolar loneliness factor along with two method factor reflecting direction of item wording provided a very good fit to the data across samples. Implications of these results for future measurement research on loneliness are discussed.
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Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is claimed to have a variety of benefits, but almost all published results are anecdotal. We characterized the resident population in long-term care facilities desiring AAT and determined whether AAT can objectively improve loneliness. Of 62 residents, 45 met inclusion criteria for the study. These 45 residents were administered the Demographic and Pet History Questionnaire (DPHQ) and Version 3 of the UCLA Loneliness Scale (UCLA-LS). They were then randomized into three groups (no AAT; AAT once/week; AAT three times/week; n = 15/group) and retested with the UCLA-LS near the end of the 6-week study. Use of the DPHQ showed residents volunteering for the study had a strong life-history of emotional intimacy with pets and wished that they currently had a pet. AAT was shown by analysis of covariance followed by pairwise comparison to have significantly reduced loneliness scores in comparison with the no AAT group. The desire for AAT strongly correlates with previous pet ownership. AAT reduces loneliness in residents of long-term care facilities.
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Aim: to investigate (i) whether loneliness increases in old age, and if so, whether it relates to ageing itself, to time trends or to cohort effects and (ii) the relationship between changes in institutionalization, partner status and health and loneliness. Methods: 939 men born between 1900 and 1920 completed the De Jong-Gierveld Loneliness Scale, and answered questions about their partner status, health and institutionalization in 1985, 1990 and 1995. Results: for the oldest group (born between 1900 and 1910) loneliness scores increased, but not for the younger groups. The increase in loneliness was attributable to ageing. No birth cohort or time effects were found. Loneliness was related to changes in institutionalization, partner status and subjective health but not to limitations in activities of daily living or cognitive function. Conclusions: the increased loneliness experienced by very old men is influenced by loss of a partner, moving into a care home or not feeling healthy.
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An anthropological study of pet visiting programs to three nursing homes reveals five aspects of how elderly residents deal with their past and present ties to their families. (1) Sessions trigger childhood memories and family reminiscences associated with animals. (2) Pet loss and human loss are spoken about as interrelated experiences. (3) Animal visits highlight and help counteract the decline of domesticity that people go through in institutions. (4) Residents explore their ties to pets they have had to give up and their relationships with family members currently caring for these animals. (5) The occasional visits of people's kin during pet sessions indicates the role of animals in domestic interaction and the reaction of family members to the situation of their institutionalized relatives. These findings are compared with other studies on the ties between pets and the elderly.
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Three nursing homes in the Brisbane area took part in the study. The Moreton Bay Nursing Care Unit (20 females, 11 males) had a visiting dog (each week), the Returned Services League War Veterans Home (24 females, eight males) had a resident dog and the Wheeler Garden Settlement (25 females, seven males) the visiting researcher only (control). A desexed female whippet, 11 months old was used in this study.Tension and confusion were reduced in the nursing home with a resident dog (x2 = 21.18, d.f. = 10, P = 0.02; x2 = 35.42, d.f. = 10, P = 0.0001, respectively).The resident dog group showed significant decreases in depression (x2 = 31.19, d.f. = 10, P = 0.0005) as did the control group (x2 = 29.8, d.f. = 10, P = 0.0009; x2 = 23.4, d.f. = 10, P = 0.009).Significant increases in vigour were found in all three nursing homes (visiting dog, x2 = 43.91, d.f. = 10, P = 0.0005; resident dog, x2 = 42.92, d.f. = 10, P = 0.0005; control, x2 = 38.52, d.f. = 10, P = 0.0005).Fatigue decreased significantly in the visiting and resident dog groups (x2 = 21.58, d.f. = 10, P = 0.02; x2 = 19.45, d.f. = 10, P = 0.03, respectively).This long-term study indicates that there are many benefits from having a resident dog in a nursing home. However, if this is not an option, visiting dogs and/or visiting people improve the lives of nursing home residents.
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Social stimulation is a valuable aspect of therapeutic activities at long-term care facilities, designed to decrease social isolation, maintain or stimulate mental abilities, and increase awareness of the external environment. A study was undertaken at two such facilities to compare the effectiveness of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) with Non-Animal Therapy (NAT) at providing social stimulation, that is, at providing opportunities for patients to engage in social interaction and to initiate social behaviors. While studies have indicated that AAT can improve resident outlook or affect, few have directly studied the social behaviors that might lead to such improvements, or the role the animals themselves might play. We observed 33 patients, both alert and semi- to non-alert, during regular recreational therapy sessions. Most patients were women (29 vs. four men), and geriatric (in their 70's and 80's). Non-Animal Therapies included Arts and Crafts and Snack Bingo, while AAT involved animals from local animal shelters being brought by volunteers to group sessions. Social behaviors naturally divided into Brief Conversations, Long Conversations, and Touch. We determined frequencies and rates of the behaviors, who initiated the behaviors and whether the behaviors were directed at other people or at the animals. Overall, during AAT residents were involved in as much or more conversation with others, including the animals, as residents in Non-Animal Therapy, and were more likely to initiate and participate in longer conversations. The finding that different kinds of therapies seem to encourage different kinds of conversation might be an important consideration when investigating health benefits. The most dramatic differences between therapy types were found in rates of touch: touching the animals during AAT added significantly to resident engagement in, and initiation of, this behavior. Since touch is considered an important part of social stimulation and therapy, the enhancement of this social behavior by the animals is an important, and perhaps undervalued, effect.
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It is known that pet dogs can act as catalysts for human social interactions, and it has been suggested that this may enhance feelings of well-being. Two studies were carried out to establish the robustness of this effect. In Study 1, a highly trained dog was used to ensure that the dog itself did not solicit attention from passers-by, and data were collected across a range of normal daily activities in which a dog could be included, not confined to conventional dog walking areas as in previous studies. Being accompanied by a dog increased the frequency of social interactions, especially interactions with strangers. In Study 2, also using a trained dog, a different (male) participant observer was dressed either smartly or scruffily. Although there were significantly more interactions when he was smartly dressed, the greatest effect was between the Dog present and No Dog conditions irrespective of the handler's dress. It is concluded that the social catalysis effect is very robust, which opens the way for investigating possible consequences of the effect for wellbeing and health.
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This research used two key concepts from Roy's adaptation model of nursing to examine the relationship between human-pet interaction and loneliness in nursing home residents. These concepts included (a) environmental stimuli as factors influencing adaptation and (b) interdependence as a mode of response to the environment. The hypothesis of this study asserted that the residents of a nursing home who had greater levels of interaction with a pet program would experience less loneliness than those who had lower levels of interaction with a pet. The study used an ex post facto nonexperimental design with 65 subjects. The simplified version of the revised UCLA loneliness scale was used to measure loneliness. Reported level of human-pet interaction was measured according to a four-point scale (1 = no interaction, 4 = quite a lot of interaction). The hypothesis was supported at the p less than 0.03 level of significance. Implications for practice through organizing pet programs in situations where loneliness exists are discussed. Recommendations for future research include replicating the study using a larger sample and developing a comprehensive human-pet interaction tool.
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This study was conducted to determine the effect of the presence and absence of a dog on the frequency and types of social interactions among nursing home residents during a socialization group. Point sampling was used to evaluate the behaviors of 36 male nursing home residents at a Veterans Administration Medical Center under two conditions, Dog Present and Dog Absent. A significant difference in verbal interactions among residents occurred with the dog present, F(1, 69) = 4.92, p < .05. These findings are consistent with existing literature, thus providing further evidence of the value of Animal Assisted Therapy programs as an effective medium for increasing socialization among residents in long-term care facilities. Because an increase in social interactions can improve the social climate of an institution and occupational therapists frequently incorporate group process into their treatment, the therapeutic use of animals can become a valuable adjunct to reaching treatment goals.
Article
To examine whether companion animals or attachment to a companion animal was associated with changes in physical and psychological health in older people and whether the relationships between physical and psychological health and human social networks were modified by the presence or absence of a companion animal. A 1-year longitudinal study with standardized telephone interview data collected at baseline and repeated at 1-year Wellington County, Ontario, Canada An age- and sex stratified random sample (baseline n = 1054; follow-up n = 995) of noninstitutionalized adults aged 65 and older (mean age = 73, SD +/- 6.3) Social Network Activity was measured using a family and non-family social support scale, participation in an organized social group, involvement in the affairs of the social group, the practice of confiding in others, feelings of loneliness, and the perceived presence of support in a crisis situation. Chronic conditions were measured as the current number of selected health problems. Pet ownership was assessed by the report of owning a dog or a cat and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale score. Physical health was assessed as the ability to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Psychological health was measured as a summed score comprising the level of satisfaction regarding one's health, family and friend relationships, job, finances, life in general, overall happiness, and perceived mental health. Sociodemographic variables assessed include subject age, sex, marital status, living arrangements, education, household income, and major life events. Pet owners were younger, currently married or living with someone, and more physically active than non-pet owners. The ADL level of respondents who did not currently own pets deteriorated more on average (beta = -.270, P = .040) than that of respondents who currently owned pets after adjusting for other variables during the 1-year period. No statistically significant direct association was observed between pet ownership and change in psychological well-being (P > .100). However, pet ownership significantly modified the relationship between social support and the change in psychological well-being (P = .001) over a 1-year period. The results demonstrate the benefits of pet ownership in maintaining or slightly enhancing ADL levels of older people. However, a more complex relationship was observed between pet ownership and an older person's well-being.
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Research in three different areas was examined and several conclusions can be drawn. Continuity of care provider is critical to understanding the resident and to developing relationships with the resident over time (Patchner, 1987; Teresi et al., 1993a). The teaching of interactional skills is not enough; the care provider must be engaged in some way, such as learning about the person through life stories (Best, 1998; Caris-Verhallen et al., 2000; Coker et al., 1998; Heliker, 1999; McCallion et al., 1999; Pietrukowicz & Johnson, 1991; Williams & Tappen, 1999). If care providers are called to enhance relationships with residents, they too must be supported in their work environments (Hallberg & Norberg, 1993; Montegar et al., 1977; Kovach & Krejci, 1998). Finally, research confirmed positive secondary resident and care provider outcomes can be achieved following the development of holding relationships. Overall, preliminary empirical support for the capacities of the care provider--reliability, empathy, continuity--and for the requirement for support were established from a review of the literature. However, no intervention studies were found that incorporated the complete set of theoretical variables. Testing the combined influence of these variables, as conceptualized by Winnicott's (1970) theory of relationships, and the manner in which they affect the holding relationship for residents, and subsequently secondary care provider and resident outcomes, is essential to assess the usefulness of this theory to relationship building in LTC. Caregiving relationships involve all kinds of social interaction during the course of which the patient's sense of self-worth can either be enhanced or thwarted (Agich, 1990). Therefore, a milieu should be developed to accentuate care provider-resident relationships and lead to a systematic and encompassing framework of positive expectations on the part of all nursing personnel involved. A model of care focusing on relationships may be one means to this end.