Date of Graduation

Fall 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Research Sponsor

Janice Yoder

First Reader

Jennifer Stanley

Second Reader

Kevin Kaut


This literature review of the benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is centered on four scholarly articles published in major psychological journals discussing the reduction of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairments as well as the increase in well-being and happiness in the elderly nursing- home population. Many time these residents are abandoned by family and experience little- to- no interaction with others due to understaffing at these homes. My goal through this literature review was to bring attention to an alternative form of therapy for these patients. Often patients grow sick from depression and lose their sense of self-worth but, with the addition of AAT in their daily lives, they can have something to look forward to as well as someone that is really looking forward to keeping them company. This therapy has substantial amounts of psychological and cognitive benefits as discussed in this review, and I believe that this is a new and innovative way to support our growing elderly population in the next stage of their lives.