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Creation Date

Spring 2017

Major

Recreation and Park Administration

Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Degree

Graduate

Mentor

Michelle Davis Gerken

Mentor Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Abstract

Animal therapy is one of several intervention used for recreational therapy that improves the emotional health of individuals who are recovering from a traumatic brain injury or other health or disability issues. In turn this intervention helps patients recover faster from injury versus patients who do not have an animal assistant (Fine, 2010). With brain trauma patients, they have to learn how to re-socialize into society. Many patients develop anxiety and depression following a traumatic brain injury (Jorge, Robinson, Starkstein, and Arndt, 1993; McCauley, Boake, Levin, Contant, and Song, 2010; Moore, Terryberry-Spohr, and Hope, 2005). This results in difficulty to re-enter society and function as a member of the community. However, through animal assisted therapy, patients form bonds that allow them to feel comfortable, gain confidence, and have lower stress levels while interacting with others (Jorgenson, 1997; Barker and Dawson, 1998). This study will investigate the health benefits, recovery rate, and re-socialization of animal therapy for individuals who suffered traumatic brain injuries. A review of literature will be the foundation for this study. Results indicate that patients who have an animal assistant are more likely to re-socialize with an increased emotional health rather than patients who do not have an animal assistant.

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