The Effectiveness of Animal-Assisted Interventions in Reducing Student Anxiety in School Settings


Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

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

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Sarah Ferguson


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.


animal-assisted interventions, anxiety in children

Creative Commons License

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