Animal-Assisted Interactions: Impacts for At-Risk Youth


Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

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

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Andrea Nesmith


Animal-assisted interactions (AAI) have shown increasing promise in reaching at-risk youth. Overview: This systematic review explores the biopsychosocial-spiritual impacts of AAI for at-risk youth through analyzing the existing body of empirical research in the field. Qualitative analysis of findings indicated three main themes identified as (1) "the human animal connection, " exploring the unique impacts of equine and canine partnership in treatment, (2) "a new sense of self, " describing internal benefits of AAI, and (3) "social impacts" or increased prosocial behavior in participants. Quality assessment ratings indicated need for additional research in the field; however, results indicate promising outcomes for at-risk clients.


animal assisted interventions, equine therapy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.