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Article

Sue Holttum

Humans have close relationships with animals for companionship and in working roles. The purpose of this paper is to discuss recent papers on pets and dog-assisted…

Abstract

Purpose

Humans have close relationships with animals for companionship and in working roles. The purpose of this paper is to discuss recent papers on pets and dog-assisted interventions, and relates their findings to social inclusion.

Design/methodology/approach

A search was carried out for recent papers on pets, animal-assisted therapy and social inclusion/exclusion.

Findings

One paper discusses theories (often lacking in studies of animal-assisted therapy) of why animals may be good for human health and development. A recent review shows evidence that family pet ownership may aid children’s well-being, learning and social development, but too few studies have followed children over time in pet and non-pet households. Studies of dog-assisted interventions show stress-reduction, which in turn may explain why therapy for mental health in young people and adults was more effective with a dog than without. Social inclusion is hinted at but not measured directly, yet dog-assisted therapy might be helpful in this regard.

Originality/value

All the papers discussed in detail here represent up-to-date understanding in this area of knowledge. Benefits of human-animal bonds, especially with dogs, appear to be well-supported by biological as well as observational and self-report evidence. More research is needed on how much these attachments may assist social relating and relationships with other people, and social inclusion.

Details

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-8308

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Article

Colleen Dell, Darlene Chalmers, Mark Stobbe, Betty Rohr and Alicia Husband

Prison-based animal programs are becoming increasingly common in North America. The majority focus on community and animal well-being, with less explicit therapeutic goals…

Abstract

Purpose

Prison-based animal programs are becoming increasingly common in North America. The majority focus on community and animal well-being, with less explicit therapeutic goals for human participants. The purpose of this paper is to measure the objectives of a canine animal-assisted therapy (AAT) program in a Canadian psychiatric prison and examine whether the program supports inmates’ correctional plans.

Design/methodology/approach

A modified instrumental case study design was applied with three inmates over a 24-AAT-session program. Quantitative and qualitative AAT session data were collected and mid- and end-of-program interviews were held with the inmates, their mental health clinicians and the therapy dog handlers.

Findings

Inmates connected with the therapy dogs through the animals’ perceived offering of love and support. This development of a human–animal bond supported inmates’ correctional plans, which are largely situated within a cognitive-behavioral skill development framework. Specifically, inmates’ connections with the therapy dogs increased recognition of their personal feelings and emotions and positively impacted their conduct.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that prison-based AAT programs emphasizing inmate mental well-being, alongside that of animal and community well-being generally, merit further exploration. It would be worthwhile to assess this AAT program with a larger and more diverse sample of inmates and in a different institutional context and also to conduct a post-intervention follow-up.

Originality/value

This is the first study of a prison-based AAT program in a Canadian psychiatric correctional facility.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article

Beth Fields, Wendy Wood and Rebecca Lassell

Establishing acceptability of complex interventions to stakeholders is vital in early scientific development. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the acceptability…

Abstract

Purpose

Establishing acceptability of complex interventions to stakeholders is vital in early scientific development. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the acceptability of a program of equine-assisted activities (EAAP) for people with dementia by elucidating programmatic practices needed to enhance their safety and quality of life (QoL) from the perspectives of service providers.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews with five providers were analyzed using a basic qualitative approach.

Findings

Providers perceived the EAAP as acceptable and revealed potential mechanisms of change supporting well-being, including aspects related to the physical and social environment and person with dementia. Linkages identified among the EAAP and its physical and social context support its complexity. Providers explicated program practices that promoted safety and QoL, such as implementing staff trainings and tailoring activities to each person’s preferences and needs. These practices aligned with best dementia care approaches, underscoring that the EAAP is a promising complex intervention that merits further scientific development.

Originality/value

This work is novel and adds to the literature by illuminating the role of a community-based, animal-assisted program for enhancing the QoL of older adults with dementia residing in institutional care facilities.

Details

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-7794

Keywords

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Article

Patricia Pendry, Jaymie L. Vandagriff and Alexa Marie Carr

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether clinical levels of depression moderated university students’ momentary emotional states (e.g. feeling content, anxious…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether clinical levels of depression moderated university students’ momentary emotional states (e.g. feeling content, anxious, irritable and depressed) in response to conditions commonly experienced during universal, college-based Animal Visitation Programs (AVPs).

Design/methodology/approach

During a real-life efficacy trial, students (N = 192) were randomly assigned to three common AVP conditions: a hands-on condition in which participants could freely pet cats and dogs in small groups, an observation condition in which participants observed students in the hands-on condition while awaiting one’s turn and a control condition in which participants viewed images of the same animals while refraining from socializing with peers. Using a checklist, students reported their momentary emotional states (e.g. feeling content, anxious, irritable and depressed) before and after the 10-min intervention.

Findings

Multivariate regression analyses showed that clinically depressed students reported significantly higher levels of momentary negative emotion including irritability, depression and anxiety after waiting in line compared to non-depressed students, suggesting that clinical depression may moderate potential stress-relieving effects of universal college-based AVPs depending on implementation practices.

Originality/value

This is the first study to examine the causal impact of a common yet unstudied feature of college-based AVPs aimed at reducing general college student stress. Results support the utility of targeted approaches for students presenting clinical levels of depression.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

Keywords

Content available
Article

Shona Robinson-Edwards, Stephanie Kewley, Laura Riley and Dawn Fisher

The purpose of this paper is to examine prisoner experience of an equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP). This paper explores the use of therapeutic interventions;…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine prisoner experience of an equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP). This paper explores the use of therapeutic interventions; specifically focussing on EAP, within this paper EAP constitutes the use of horses in therapy and involves a team approach from equine and mental health experts.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper took a qualitative approach; due to the exploratory nature of this study a phenomenological approach was adopted. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was deemed appropriate; the intervention took place in an adult, male, open condition prison in England (Category D) however participants who engaged in the equine intervention were from both the open prison and a nearby closed Category C prison. The equine intervention was delivered by qualified therapists who worked to help improve emotional regulation among participants with a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

Findings

The findings within this paper identify a strong correlation between EAP and positive experiences expressed by participants. Alternative approaches such as animal assisted therapies are worthy of consideration when attempting to support the rehabilitation and treatment needs of incarcerated clients. Participants achieved a number of goals and their confidence improved as they felt a sense of achievement.

Research limitations/implications

This paper demonstrates the complexities of therapeutic interventions. Research relating to EAP in the UK is few and far between, consequently understanding is limited. This paper seeks to offer an insight into this topic and build upon this research in the future.

Practical implications

Access to prison for research purposes is challenging. Due to the nature of this study and the resources required sometimes EAP therapy cannot be implemented in or near many prisons in England and Wales. Therefore gaining access to this prison and exploring the data is the first phase of further research in this area.

Social implications

Researching the way individuals experience therapeutic interventions is a “growing phenomenon”. This paper aimed to explore EAP interventions, however due to the sample size it was imperative that the role of EAP was not misrepresented. Therefore this papers intention is to raise awareness of EAP interventions and therapeutic interventions in prisons in England and Wales.

Originality/value

To the authors knowledge no previous study has examined such an intervention using this method and as such the findings of this evaluation are important. Moreover this paper enhances and develops our knowledge about how best to support and treat people with histories of substance use and/or mental health problems and anxiety while in prison, and the vital role such therapies may play.

Details

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 40 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-1866

Keywords

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Book part

Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez and Andri Georgiadou

This chapter of exploratory nature aims to provide an account of the reviewed literature and presents some empirical cases to come to conceptualize dogs as social actors…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter of exploratory nature aims to provide an account of the reviewed literature and presents some empirical cases to come to conceptualize dogs as social actors with different legitimate roles in the working, social, private, economic, and family life of human beings.

Design/Methodology/Approach

This chapter is the product of a research inspired by the great interest of the authors on rising awareness of the importance of dogs in human working lives. For this, a purposive literature review took place; we consulted scientific studies databases, and also gathered information from market research agencies, and other general media resources. To have a more comprehensive view, and to respond to a specific question on dogs at the workplace, a selection of cases is used to illustrate. For the case studies, secondary data research was used, and individual, structured interviews were conducted and analyzed.

Findings

This chapter reviews the relationship between humans and animals. It identifies attitudes and perception toward animals, highlighting the evolution of the intimate bond and the deep relationship between dogs and humans. It describes some cases of dogs as working beings at the service of human functions and dimensions of the pet care markets. Finally, it presents some cases of pet-friendly work environments.

Originality/Value

The novel contribution of this chapter is putting dogs in the management of diversity academic literature. In this study, we find that the role, meaning, and purpose of dogs in people’s lives (and in many cases in organizations) are being underestimated. Including and making visible the presence of dogs in the personal, work, and well-being of people represents challenges to be addressed by managers. Additionally, it represents challenges to think about and investigate the welfare of dogs that interact with human beings in productive environments.

Details

Diversity within Diversity Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-172-9

Keywords

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Article

Jenny Mercer, Kerry Gibson and Debbie Clayton

Much evidence suggests that animals can serve as therapeutic tools for those working with vulnerable individuals. This exploratory study analysed the accounts of staff and…

Abstract

Purpose

Much evidence suggests that animals can serve as therapeutic tools for those working with vulnerable individuals. This exploratory study analysed the accounts of staff and offenders involved in a UK prison-based animal programme. The purpose of this paper was to explore the perceived impact of such a programme with male offenders.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with three service users and five staff members. Participants were drawn from a special unit in a category B prison which housed an animal centre.

Findings

A thematic analysis identified four salient themes: a sense of responsibility, building trust, enhanced communication, and impact on mood and behaviour. Findings revealed that offenders seemed to gain particular benefit from interacting with the two Labrador dogs which were present on the wing.

Practical implications

The study highlights the therapeutic potential of the presence of animals in prisons. Their implications of this for forensic practice are discussed.

Originality/value

This paper offers an important contribution to the sparse literature about prison-based animal programmes in the UK.

Details

Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

Keywords

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Article

Diana Peña Gil, Mercedes García García and Celia Camilli Trujillo

Dog-assisted interventions (DAIs) are conducted by universities around the world as innovative methods that improve students’ quality of life. The purpose of this paper is…

Abstract

Purpose

Dog-assisted interventions (DAIs) are conducted by universities around the world as innovative methods that improve students’ quality of life. The purpose of this paper is to assess the DAI program’s effect on the stress levels, well-being and social skills of first-year students from different degree programs at Complutense University of Madrid (UCM).

Design/methodology/approach

The study was conducted with 64 first-year students (M=19.20, SD=1.57). The intervention consisted of three weekly sessions of 1-h duration interacting with a therapy dog. The investigation followed a quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test design with measures of attitudes toward DAI, perceived stress, well-being and social skills.

Findings

The results indicated significant improvements in all studied variables.

Research limitations/implications

This study presents some limitations. In the design, the authors lack a control group. Another limitation is related to the sample, which was small. The authors also acknowledge that only one measure of each outcome variable was administered. Likewise, during the interventions, external observations should be added that generate qualitative records focused on student–dog interactions. In addition, physiological measures of stress, such as cortisol levels, should be included in the analysis to further support the obtained results. Nevertheless, as this was a pilot study, future investigations should aim to create a program using a larger sample of both participants as well as and dogs, with a linear/longitudinal design to measure both the mid- and long-term effects.

Practical implications

In addition, this pilot study was implemented to assist in the validation and adjustment of the DAI program for UCM students.

Social implications

By using a DAI program, college students have had the opportunity to reduce their stress and develop their social skills, as well as improve their quality of life as individuals and students. Although the implementation of Compludog was small, it was also promising as a pedagogical practice at UCM.

Originality/value

It was applied for the first time in a Spanish university and provided access to therapy dogs within this context.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

Keywords

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Article

Joe Sempik

This article discusses the role that gardening, horticulture and farming can play in promoting mental well‐being and in supporting the recovery of individuals with mental…

Abstract

This article discusses the role that gardening, horticulture and farming can play in promoting mental well‐being and in supporting the recovery of individuals with mental health problems.

Details

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-8308

Keywords

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Article

Pia Heike Johansen

– The purpose of this paper is to provide a sector-based analysis of the drivers for social entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a sector-based analysis of the drivers for social entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses qualitative data from two studies in the Danish region of Northern Jutland. The data include responses from 38 farmers who offered or had considered offering social services. The analytical framework is taken from a review of the limited literature on Green Care and Social Farming and social entrepreneurship theory.

Findings

Strong and consistent tools for the categorisation of farmers’ social entrepreneurship have been developed. However, these tools have merely been used descriptively rather than to create proactive agriculture policies to facilitate social entrepreneurship. In Region Northern Jutland social entrepreneurship in farming is driven by a combination of tradition, close relationships and coincidence. It is ad hoc, with each initiative starting from scratch because no knowledge or experience has been gathered or distributed.

Research limitations/implications

The agricultural sector-based approach to social entrepreneurship will not be discussed against other approaches to social entrepreneurship. This would be a suggestion for another more conceptual kind of article in the future.

Originality/value

A study of social entrepreneurship among farmers has not yet been coupled with a sector-based analytical framework. This paper contributes to the literature of social entrepreneurship by supplementing with an agricultural sector-based approach.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

Keywords

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