HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Preliminary efficacy of service dogs as a complementary treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder in military members and veterans

Article

This proof-of-concept study suggests that the addition of trained psychiatric service dogs to usual care may improve PTSD symptomology, but not below the level of clinical diagnosis, and contribute to better quality of life and improved social functioning.

Abstract

Despite anecdotal accounts of the benefits of service dogs for military members and veterans with PTSD, limited empirical evidence exists to document their efficacy. This proof-of-concept study suggests that the addition of trained psychiatric service dogs to usual care may improve PTSD symptomology, but not below the level of clinical diagnosis, and contribute to better quality of life and improved social functioning. In their current form, service dogs may confer benefits as a complementary or integrative treatment option among military members and veterans with PTSD.

Full Reference

O Haire, M.E., Rodriguez, K.E., 2018. Preliminary efficacy of service dogs as a complementary treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder in military members and veterans. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 86(2), 179-188.