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Psychother Psychosom. 2005;74(1):31-5.

Animal-assisted therapy ameliorates anhedonia in schizophrenia patients. A controlled pilot study.

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  • 1Brain Behavior Laboratory, Sha'ar Menashe Mental Health Center, Mobile Post Hefer, Haifa, Israel.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Anhedonia, a component of the negative symptom dimension and a core phenomenon in schizophrenia, is associated with poor social functioning and is resistant to treatment. We tested the hypothesis that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) may improve anhedonia.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the effect of psychosocial treatment sessions in which a dog was an active participant (AAT) with comparable sessions without a dog, using a controlled protocol.

METHOD:

The hedonic tone of 10 chronic schizophrenia patients who participated in 10 weekly interactive sessions of AAT was compared to a control group treated without animal assistance. The hedonic tone was measured with the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale. Subjective quality of life variables and clinical symptoms were also assessed.

RESULTS:

The AAT group showed a significant improvement in the hedonic tone compared to controls. They also showed an improvement in the use of leisure time and a trend towards improvement in motivation.

CONCLUSION:

AAT may contribute to the psychosocial rehabilitation and quality of life of chronic schizophrenia patients.

Copyright 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.

PMID:
15627854
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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