OHAIRE Publications

O'Haire, M. E., Rand J. S., McKenzie, S. J., & Slaughter, V. (2010). Guinea pigs as classroom pets: Helping children with autism and their peers. Society for Companion Animal Studies Journal, XXII (4), 11-13.

Summary: Initial findings are presented from a stream of research on guinea pigs as classroom pets for children with autism spectrum disorder and their typically-developing peers.

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O'Haire, M. E. & McKenzie, S. J. (2011). Promoting human and animal health through early humane education: Perspectives and future directions based on HAI research. EcoHealth, 7 (Suppl. 1), S114.

Summary: Data from the field of Human Animal Interaction (HAI) research provides insight into the reduction of interspecies violence through early humane education.

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O'Haire, M. E. (2013). Animal-assisted intervention for autism spectrum disorder: A systematic literature review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43 (7), 1606-1622.

Summary: The inclusion of animals in therapeutic activities, known as animal-assisted intervention (AAI), has been suggested as a treatment practice for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This paper presents a systematic review of the empirical research on AAI for ASD. Reported outcomes included improvements for multiple areas of functioning known to be impaired in ASD, namely increased social interaction and communication as well as decreased problem behaviors, autistic severity, and stress. Yet despite unanimously positive outcomes, most studies were limited by many methodological weaknesses. This review demonstrates that there is preliminary ‘‘proof of concept'' of AAI for ASD and highlights the need for further, more rigorous research.

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O'Haire, M. E. (2013). Review of current evidence and future directions in animal-assisted intervention for children with autism.  Open Access Autism, 1 (1), 6-10.

Summary: In this review, we explore the current literature on animal-assisted intervention for autism, synthesise relevant findings for clinical practice and present targeted directions for future research.

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O'Haire, M. E., McKenzie, S. J., Beck, A. M., & Slaughter, V. (2013). Social behaviors increase in children with autism in the presence of animals compared to toys. PLoS ONE, 8 (2), e57010.

Summary: This paper presents an experimental study of the effects of interacting with animals, compared to toys, for children with autism spectrum disorder. It uses the observational coding system developed by the OHAIRE team. It is open access and free to the public.

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O'Haire, M. E., McKenzie, S. J., McCune, S., & Slaughter, V. (2013). Effects of animal-assisted activities with guinea pigs in the primary school classroom. Anthrozoös: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interactions of People and Animals, 26 (3), 445-458.

Summary: This publication details the effects of an 8-week animal-assisted activities program in the school classroom for typically-developing children, compared to an 8-week waitlist control condition.

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O'Haire, M. E., McKenzie, S. J., McCune, S., & Slaughter, V. (2014). Effects of classroom animal-assisted activities on social functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20 (3), 162-168.

Summary: This study includes outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorder from an 8-week animal-assisted activities program in the classroom, compared to an 8-week waitlist control period.

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O'Haire, M. E. (2015). Animal-assisted intervention in the classroom. Clinical roundup: Selected treatment options for autism. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 21 (2), 95-96.

Summary: This paper provides an overview of complementary treatment options for autism spectrum disorder, including a special section on animal-assisted intervention.

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O'Haire, M. E., Guérin, N. A.†, Kirkham, A. C.†, & Daigle, C. L.† (2015). Animal-assisted intervention for autism spectrum disorder. HABRI Central Briefs, 1 (4), e1-8.

Summary: This publication a brief review of the current literature on animal-assisted intervention for autism. It is open access and free to the public.

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O'Haire, M. E., McKenzie, S. J., Beck, A. M., & Slaughter, V. (2015). Animals may act as social buffers: Skin conductance arousal in children with autism spectrum disorder in a social context. Developmental Psychobiology, 57 (5), 584-595.

Summary: This study measured continuous physiological arousal in children with ASD and typically developing (TD) children in a social context during four conditions: (a) a baseline of reading silently, (b) a scripted classroom activity involving reading aloud, (c) free play with peers and toys, and (d) free play with peers and animals (guinea pigs). The results showed a 43% decrease in skin conductance responses during free play with peers in the presence of animals, compared to toys. The paper discusses how animals may act as social buffers for children with ASD, and could confer unique anxiolytic effects.

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Grandin, T., Fine, A. H., O'Haire, M. E., Carlisle, G., & Bowers, C. M. (2015). The use of therapy animals for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. In A. H. Fine (Ed.), Handbook on animal-assisted therapy: Theoretical foundations and guidelines for practice (4th ed.). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Summary: This book chapter presents clinical, research, and anecdotal information about the provision of animal-assisted therapy for individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

O'Haire, M. E. (2017). Research on animal-assisted intervention and autism spectrum disorder, 2012–2015. Applied Developmental Science, 1-17.

Summary: A systematic literature review to collate and synthesize all empirical research on animal-assisted intervention for autism published from 2012 to 2015. Research methodology is diverse and though limited in many cases, has improved over the last few years. The most commonly reported outcome was increased social interaction, which was unanimously significant across 22 studies.

Guérin, N. A.†, Rodriguez, K.E., Brodhead, M.T., O'Haire, M.E. (2017). Assessing Preferences for Animals in Children with Autism: A New Use for Video-Based Preference AssessmentFrontiers in Veterinary Science, 4, 29.

Summary: This article discusses the possibility to assess preference for animals in individuals with autism spectrum disorder using video. This technique may enhance animal-assisted interventions and maximize their outcomes. It is open access and free to the public.

O'Haire, M.E. (2010). Companion animals and human health: Benefits, challenges, and the road ahead. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 5( 5), 226-234

Summary: This paper provides an overview of the theory and application of human-animal interaction for human health outcomes. It provides the history of the field and future directions.

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O'Haire, M. E. (2012). Pets as a prescription for health: The benefits of companion animals for mental well-being. Mental Notes, 6 (3), 5-7.

Summary: This publication provides a brief overview of the ways that animals are incorporated into human health care through animal-assisted intervention and companion animal ownership.

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Mueller, M. K., Fine, A. H., & O'Haire, M. E. (2015). Understanding the role of human-animal interaction in the family context. In A. H. Fine (Ed.), Handbook on animal-assisted therapy: Theoretical foundations and guidelines for practice (4th ed.). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Summary: This book chapter provides an overview of the ways that animals influence family dynamics and child development throughout the lifespan.

Abrahamson, K., Cai, Y., Richards, E., Cline, K., & O'Haire, M. E. (2016). Perceptions of a hospital-based animal assisted intervention program: An exploratory study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice25, 150-154

Summary: This study explores the effect of interacting with animals for staff in acute care hospital settings. Qualitative data methods are used to examine benefits and drawbacks, including reduced stress and increased social interactions. The effects of animals on staff, rather than patients, has been understudied and this serves as a starting point for further investigation in this area.

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LaFollette, M. R., O’Haire, M. E., Cloutier, S., Blankenberger, W. B., & Gaskill, B. N. (2017). Rat tickling: A systematic review of applications, outcomes, and moderators. PloS One12(4)

Summary: A systematic literature review of rat tickling. This publication reviews 32 published articles about tickling and evaluates current methods, outcomes, and moderators. It concludes that rat tickling is a promising method for improving rat welfare and investigating positive affect. However, the establishment of tickling best practices is still necessary.

O'Haire, M. E., Guérin, N. A.†, & Kirkham, A. C.† (2015). Animal-assisted intervention for trauma: A systematic literature review. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1121.

Summary: This paper presents a systematic review of the empirical literature on AAI for trauma, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants were predominantly survivors of child abuse, in addition to military veterans. The presentation of AAI was highly variable across the studies. The most common animal species were dogs and horses. The most prevalent outcomes were reduced depression, PTSD symptoms, and anxiety. There was a low level of methodological rigor in most studies, indicating the preliminary nature of this area of investigation. We conclude that AAI may provide promise as a complementary treatment option for trauma, but that further research is essential to establish feasibility, efficacy, and manualizable protocols. It is open access and free to the public.

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O'Haire, M. E., Guérin, N. A.†, Kirkham, A. C.†, & Daigle, C. L.† (2015). Animal-assisted intervention for trauma, including posttraumatic stress disorder. HABRI Central Briefs, 1 (6), e1-8.

Summary: This publication offers a short overview of the state of the science regarding animal-assisted intervention for trauma. It is open access and free to the public.

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