Effects of canine-assisted intervention on the mental health of higher education students: a systematic review

Manville, Karen, Coulson, Mark, Mulqueen, Michele A., Neller, Kirsty ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5461-8971, Searing, Caroline, Welland, Sarah and Reynolds, Gemma ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2893-6380 (2022) Effects of canine-assisted intervention on the mental health of higher education students: a systematic review. Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, 13 (1) . pp. 111-145. ISSN 2333-522X [Article] (doi:10.1079/hai.2022.0012)

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The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate existing literature exploring the effects of canine assisted intervention (CAI) on the mental health of Higher Education (HE) students. A literature search was performed on 14th January 2021 for studies that investigated the effects of CAI on HE students. Thirty three papers (6093 participants) encompassing 37 studies were included in this review. Study design varied in research objective, intervention type, timing, procedure, and measures. The Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool found studies ranged in quality from moderate (n=7) to weak (n=30). The review identified CAI has a positive effect on levels of anxiety and stress in HE students. Key limitations of the studies include confounding influences during the intervention as well as a lack of control groups and standardized measures. Furthermore, intervention and procedures ranged substantially in design and application making direct comparisons difficult. The authors conclude two main outcomes from the review. Firstly, CAI improves mental health in HE students, in particular anxiety and stress. Secondly, CAI has a social benefit, encouraging communication and a shared experience. However, a number of methodological limitations of the studies are identified and reviewed. To conclude, this systematic review reveals strong support for the use of CAI in HE students as a form of therapy.

Item Type: Article
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 35561
Notes on copyright: Copyright © CAB International 2022, published under the former journal title of Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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Depositing User: Gemma Reynolds
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2022 10:25
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2023 20:02
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/35561

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