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Háskólinn í Reykjavík > Samfélagssvið / School of Social Sciences > MSc Sálfræðideild / Department of Psychology >

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  • Titill er á ensku Effects of equine facilitated therapy on at-risk youth in treatment
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  • Equine facilitated therapy (EFT) is a relatively novel complementary approach that has shown promising effectiveness for a variety of psychological and behavioral problems. The aim of the current pilot study was to assess whether EFT positively affects emotional, social and behavioral functioning of at-risk youth in treatment and identify if and how it contributes to behavioral change and emotional growth. Furthermore, to evaluate the feasibility of implementing EFT as part of a residential treatment program for at-risk youths in Iceland. Three youths received EFT in combination with standard treatment (ST) and were compared to three youths receiving ST only. The study used a mixed methodological approach combining single subject design and qualitative methods. Self-report measurements (Beck Youth Inventories – Second Edition (BYI-II); shortened versions of the BYI-II (BYI-II 20) and the social skills subscales of the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) student form), behavioral measurements and individual semi-structured interviews were used to evaluate the effects of treatment, treatment progress, and feasibility. There were indications that EFT had a positive effect on emotional problems beyond ST. However, EFT did not appear to have an effect on social skills or problem behavior beyond ST. Results from qualitative interviews supported the therapeutic value of using horses to enhance therapy. Even though the results were not conclusive, there were indicators that EFT in combination with ST can be beneficial for at-risk youth. However, further research is needed to verify the effectiveness of EFT.
    Keywords: at-risk youth, residential treatment, human-animal bond, equine facilitated therapy

  • 23.1.2020

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