Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Janet Jedlicka


Animals; Bonding, Human-Pet; Adolescent Psychology


According to the comprehensive literature review, animals are currently being used as an effective tool during therapy and have been reported to promote improvement with communication, behaviors, quality of life, and self esteem of different treatment populations. Since emotionally disturbed adolescents often lack appropriate skills in the areas of communication, social interactions, self-esteem, independence, and boundaries, it can be challenging for occupational therapists to provide opportunities for development of these skills. Animal assisted therapy may be a tool that can assist in bridging the gap between the adult therapist and emotionally disturbed adolescents and provide a medium to promote skill development. This scholarly project addresses current evidence in the literature supporting the use of animal assisted therapy, as well as discussing limitations, and provides guidance for occupational therapists considering the use of animal assisted therapy in practice with adolescent populations. The Model of Human Occupation was used to provide recommended assessment tools, as well as to develop treatment activities and resources.