Mar. 28th 2019 Ongoing Studies

The impact of emotional support dogs on anxiety among adolescents in psychotherapy taken in youth protection

Project funded by Mira

Several studies have shown us the benefits of animals on our psychophysiological responses. With this in mind, Mira has enabled several institutions to obtain emotional support dogs to better serve various clienteles. The CISSS Montérégie-Est Youth Program is one of the groups that benefits from a dog to provide support to teenagers. These abused, neglected, and emotionally challenged young people have experienced many obstacles in their lives. In youth programs, psychotherapy is available to support them. On the other hand, because of its anxiogenic and confrontational nature, young people are often not very open to take part in it. The presence of an emotional support dog can therefore reduce anxiety and help the therapeutic alliance. This study will allow us to understand if this intervention is truly effective. The research design that will be used is a single case experimental design with alternating treatments. Anxiety will be measured using a self-reported questionnaire, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children completed by the teenager, bio-shirts to measure their physiological responses, as well as a measure of cortisol. They will also be filmed to allow a rating of anxious behaviors. We will also analyze the therapeutic alliance between the adolescent and the psychologist using the Working Alliance Inventory.

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