Adopting a Companion Dog Helps Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a Pilot Randomized Trial

STRONG STAR Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite significant treatment advances, many military veterans continue to suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and associated symptoms, suggesting a need for new interventions. This pilot trial examined the change in psychological symptoms of 19 veterans in treatment for PTSD who were randomized either to adopt a dog immediately from a Humane Society shelter (n = 9) or to a three-month waitlist followed by dog adoption (n = 10). The dogs were companion dogs, not service animals. The investigators analyzed quantitative assessments using mixed regression models with repeated measures. All veterans also participated in periodic semi-structured interviews. The study results showed companion dog adoption to be a feasible adjunctive intervention that helped improve PTSD and depressive symptoms for most participants. These findings suggest that this is a promising approach that is worthy of further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalSociety and Animals
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • animal-assisted therapy
  • dog
  • nonhuman animal
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • veteran

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • veterinary(all)

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