Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing


Nursing RN/BSN Akron

Research Sponsor

Diane Lorenzen

First Reader

Sheau-Huey Chiu

Second Reader

Kathryn Patton


With alternative therapies and complementary medicine becoming increasingly popular and supported by research, it is important for healthcare workers to be prepared to encounter and use these therapies in practice. A common problem in the pediatric healthcare setting is stress in patients and families during healthcare treatment. Animal assisted therapy (AAT), more commonly known as pet therapy, is a form of complementary alternative therapy that has been examined in this population. The purpose of this systematic review is to explore the effect of AAT on treatment outcomes in pediatric patients across clinical settings. The methods used to guide this systematic review include unbiased selection of twenty primary sources using the CINAHL, PsychINFO, PubMed, and Medline databases. Evidence from research shows mixed, but generally positive, results about effect of AAT on anxiety levels, pain, behavior, and treatment outcomes. Therefore AAT may be a beneficial alternative therapy for this population.