November 7, 2019

Expert: Veterans with PTSD might have less symptoms if they have a service dog

WHAT: Researchers at Purdue University’s Center for the Human-Animal Bond are looking at how service dogs help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The latest findings have indicated that veterans may benefit physiologically from having a service dog — the first published research to use a physiological biomarker to show the effects of service dogs.

EXPERT: Kerri Rodriguez, a human-animal interaction graduate student, is continuing this research through working with a team to conduct a large clinical trial to study veterans with and without service dogs over an extended period of time.

QUOTE: “So far, we have promising data to suggest that PTSD service dogs are making a meaningful difference in military veterans’ lives. Our preliminary study found veterans with PTSD who had a service dog not only had less PTSD symptoms than veterans without a service dog, but also reported less depression, less anxiety and less anger. We also found that having a PTSD service dog was associated with higher life satisfaction, a greater ability to participate in social activities, and less social isolation.”

MORE INFORMATION: Rodriguez has also led research on how service dogs can have measurable positive effects on the wellbeing of individuals with physical disabilities. She is working on a new study examining how service dogs impact children with autism. More information about the Center for the Human-Animal Bond can be found here.

Writer: Abbey Nickel, 765-496-1325, nickela@purdue.edu 

Source: Kerri Rodriguez, rodri403@purdue.edu 

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