A Randomized Controlled Trial of Traditional Psychosocial and Canine-Assisted Interventions for Children with ADHD

Sabrina E.B. Schuck, Natasha A. Emmerson, Maryam M. Abdullah, Aubrey H. Fine, Annamarie Stehli & Kimberley D. Lakes

University of California, Irvine

This study provides findings on the final main outcomes from a randomized controlled trial of psychosocial intervention with and without canine assisted intervention (CAI) for children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Eighty-eight children, ages 7-9 with ADHD, combined subtype were randomly assigned to 12-week intervention groups (CAI or Non-CAI). Outcome measures were collected across multiple domains and time points. Main effects of group were revealed for total ADHD symptoms (p <.05), inattention (p =.01) and social skills (p =.04), indicating that the CAI group fared better than the non-CAI group. A significant interaction of group by time on ratings of problem behaviors (p =.02) and social initiation (p =.03), indicated the CAI group demonstrated a modest benefit over the non-CAI group in these domains. This manuscript describes the results and discusses the benefits and limitations of this intervention for children with ADHD.

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Keywords: Animal Assisted Interaction, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, human-animal interaction, Social Skills Training, Therapy Dogs
Posted in 2018, Volume 6, No. 1