A pilot study: assessing the effectiveness of an animal-assisted intervention in reducing loneliness of post-secondary students
University of New Brunswick
Animal assisted interventions (AAI) are an increasingly popular tool in supporting post secondary students’ mental health across institutions in North America. Majority of the existing research has explored AAI’s effects on stress and anxiety, while this pilot study evaluated the effectiveness of an AAI program on symptoms of loneliness among university students (n = 20). Using the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3) as a pre and post measure, results revealed a slight decrease in self-reported loneliness scores following the AAI intervention, with no difference between males and females (n =5) reported either feeling “better” or “so much better” post intervention. Limitations of the study were identified along with recommendations for future research. Strategies for integrating AAI into counselling practices within a post-secondary environment were explored.