Animal-Assisted Interventions and Psychiatric Disorders: Knowledge and Attitudes among General Practitioners, Psychiatrists, and Psychologists

Society & Animals
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  • 1 * Norwegian University of Life Sciences bente.berget@umb.no ** University of Oslo *** University of Oslo and the Research Institute of the Norwegian Medical Association

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Abstract

There appears to be a growing interest among farmers and researchers in animal-assisted interventions (AAI). However, less is known about the attitudes toward the use of such interventions among therapists. In this study, Norwegian general practitioners, psychiatrists, and psychologists were asked about their knowledge of, and experience with, AAI and their motivation for learning more about AAI. About two-thirds of the respondents had some or significant knowledge of AAI and were motivated to adapt AAI to their own practice. Almost 9 out of 10 thought that AAI should be used more in psychiatric treatment; however, GPs were not as positive as the psychiatrists/psychologists. More than 2 out of 3 respondents wanted to learn more about AAI, the men being more positive than the women. There were no professional differences on this question, while number of years with clinical work was negatively related, and earlier experiences with AAI positively related, to this motivation to learn more about AAI. Belief in treatment effects was a positive predictor.

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