Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah Ferguson


Social Work


Anxiety has a detrimental effect on child development in numerous capacities including academics, peer relationships, and long-term effects if left untreated (Nail et al., 2015; Siegel, LaGreca & Harrison, 2009; Van Ameringen, Mancini & Farvolden, 2001). The use of animalassisted interventions (AAIs) has been widely reported to have beneficial impacts on human anxiety levels (Bert et al., 2016). The purpose of this systematic review was to understand how the presence of a therapy dog reduces levels of anxiety, and to discuss how the findings can be interpreted and applied for children and adolescents in a school setting. Fifteen peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles met inclusion criteria and were examined. Emerging themes were categorized in terms of the psychological, physiological and psychiatric effects of animalassisted interventions. The findings of this systematic review give supporting evidence to the positive benefits of using animal-assisted interventions in the school setting for children and adolescents.

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Social Work Commons