Browsing by Author "Buckle, Chanelle J"
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- ItemEffects of an animal visitation intervention on the depression, loneliness, and quality of life of older people: A randomised controlled study(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2015-12) Buckle, Chanelle J; Le Roux, Marieanna C.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Department of PsychologyENGLISH ABSTRACT : Older people—especially those living in residential facilities—comprise a vulnerable and oftentimes frail, but large and growing subset of the global population. Various age-related and socio-political, -economic, and -environmental factors place the quality of life of older people largely at stake, which warrants the development and implementation of low-cost, practical, and effective intervention strategies that foster the health of older people. One type of intervention that shows promise in addressing certain health needs of the older population is animal-assisted interventions. Animal-assisted intervention (AAI) is currently the most widely used term to describe any intervention that purposely incorporates animals as part of a therapeutic or generally beneficial process with humans. The aim of the present study was to generate empirical evidence on the effect of a dog visitation intervention (a type of AAI) on the occurrence of depression and loneliness and the quality of life of older people residing in a residential facility. A randomised pretest-posttest control group design was implemented to achieve this aim. Thirty-five consenting older people residing in a South African residential facility for the aged participated in the study. Participants were randomised into an experimental group (n = 17) and a control group (n = 18). Experimental group participants were subjected to a 10-week dog visitation intervention wherein they received weekly visits of about 60 minutes each from three registered visiting dogs and their individual owners (volunteers). Control group participants, on the other hand, did not receive the intervention and continued living their daily lives as usual. Throughout the intervention the dog visitation sessions took place consistently on the same day and time each week. Experimental group participants gathered in the residential facility’s large entry lounge during visits. The other residents of the facility were kindly denied access to this venue during that time. Volunteers took dog treats (e.g., biscuits) and toys (e.g., balls) along to visits, where experimental group participants were allowed to observe, talk to, hold, stroke, play with, and feed treats to the dogs. All participants were assessed before (pretest) and after (posttest) the intervention using the Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form (GDS-SF), the UCLA Loneliness Scale Version 3 (UCLA LS-3), and the World Health Organisation Quality of Life-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF). At pretest measurement participants additionally completed a biographical and pet history survey. A p-value equal to or smaller than .05 was used to indicate significant results. Analysis of the data revealed no significant differences between the experimental and control groups on the pretest and posttest scores of the GDS-SF and the UCLA LS-3. Reliability analyses of the WHOQOL-BREF subscales revealed unsatisfactory α-values and this measure was therefore not analysed any further. These findings and the limitations of the present study are discussed, and recommendations for further research are made.