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ISSN : 1225-2964(Print)
ISSN : 2287-3317(Online)
Annals of Animal Resource Sciences Vol.33 No.2 pp.66-83

An International Literature Review on Animal-Assisted Intervention

Si Nae Cheon1, Jung Hwan Jeon2*
1Graduate student, 2Senior researcher, Animal Welfare Research Team, National Institute of Animal Science, Wanju 55365, Kore


There is a growing interest in animal-assisted intervention (AAI) all over the world. AAI is an umbrella term describing various forms of human-animal teams in formal human service, such as animal-assisted activity (AAA), animal-assisted therapy (AAT), and animal-assisted education (AAE). Animals commonly used as partners in AAI are dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, farm animals, and dolphins. Research on various topics within the field of AAI has experienced rapid growth over the past decade, but AAI approaches are still struggling to establish credibility as a complementary therapy method for a range of medical and psychological conditions. The aim of this review is to scrutinize the research literature related to AAI. Most studies have shown that AAI can have multiple outcomes, including social, psychological, and physical ones, in a wide range of settings. However, studies have not yet examined whether these effects carry over into other contexts. Moreover, study samples have tended to be small, non-representative, heterogeneous, and conducted without control groups. Further research is, thus, necessary to explore the sustainability and long-term benefits of AAI in a variety of settings and for different populations. Also, there is a need for specific guidelines for the welfare of therapy animals, as well as possible directions for standardized professional competencies.