Washington [US]July 29 (ANI): A recent investigation has examined the characteristics and mechanisms that may underlie the mental health consequences of these interactions, used by US soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). An investigation was carried out regarding service dogs on the go.
The research was led by Claire Jensen and colleagues from Purdue University, Indiana, USA, and the findings were published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
Previous research suggests that pairing a veteran with a service dog is associated with a lower severity of PTSD. However, the mechanisms underlying these potential benefits are unclear.
To improve understanding, Jensen and colleagues studied 82 military members or veterans and their service dogs, all of whom were trained to reduce PTSD symptoms. Shortly before the veterans and dogs were paired, and again after a three-month period, the veterans completed several separate surveys and allowed the researchers to make additional observations to capture a detailed view of the veteran-dog interactions. Gave.
The researchers first analyzed the results of surveys and records relating to the personal characteristics of service dogs and veterans and the closeness of their bond. They found that most dog characteristics assessed were not associated with better or worse experienced mental health outcomes, except for low canine arousal, which was associated with less severity of PTSD symptoms and closer experienced-dog relationships.
Next, the researchers investigated possible mechanisms of alleviation of mental health symptoms by analyzing the results of surveys and observations that captured the dog’s behavior, training methods, and use of specific trained tasks.
Better mental health was associated with a number of factors, including making dog care easier and understanding a closer veteran-dog relationship. The analysis also found a link to worse depression and more frequent service dogs initiating social greetings. Veterans who frequently asked their dogs to alert an approaching human from behind were more likely to have more anxiety but less severity of PTSD symptoms.
Further research will be needed to expand on these findings, potentially including how to identify veterans who may benefit from service dogs and how to best select and train dogs.
Claire Jensen says: “This study provides new information about how and why service dogs may improve mental health for some veterans with PTSD. We are especially grateful to military veterans who have joined us. Made it possible by sharing time and experience.” (ANI)
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