Organization for Human-Animal Interaction Research in the News
While it’s not entirely clear whether comfort animals provide long-term benefits to those in pain, studies have shown that they can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression as well as the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Indiana CTSI recently announced its 2016-17 TL1 Postdoctoral Training Award and Young Investigator Training Award recipients.
He pointed to several studies including research conducted by Purdue University on animal-assisted intervention for victims of trauma.
"In the area of therapy animals, practice is far outpacing research. People think it works and like the idea of it, so they do it," explains Maggie O’Haire, assistant professor of human-animal interaction at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Research on the therapeutic value of animals is limited. Some studies have shown that they can provide a short-term benefit, particularly in reducing anxiety and depression. A long-term therapeutic benefit, however, has not been definitively established by randomized control trials.
Purdue Assistant Professor Dr. Marguerite O’Haire received a one-year grant in April to lead a study on the subject. O’Haire is focusing on post 9/11 veterans with PTSD or a traumatic brain injury. She said veterans have told her how they think the dogs help them, so that’s what she will study.
The project began because the lead researcher, Marguerite E. O’Haire, now an assistant professor at the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, wondered whether there were measurable benefits to having animals in the classroom, a common practice.
This could be because pets offer unqualified acceptance and make children with autism feel more secure, according to Marguerite O'Haire, from the Center for the Human-Animal Bond in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and colleagues.
The study, published online in Developmental Psychobiology, was conducted by Marguerite O’Haire, Ph.D., from the Center for the Human-Animal Bond in the College of Veterinary Medicine of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and colleagues in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
Marguerite O'Haire, assistant professor at Purdue University's Human-Animal Interaction Research group, has been studying the subject for about a decade. In a study she published in 2013, O'Haire concluded that children with autism spectrum disorder were more social in the presence of guinea pigs than in the presence of toys.