Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on a Student with an Emotional/Behavioral Disorder

Val Rae M. Boe

Southwest Minnesota State University


This single-subject action research project examines the effects of animal-assisted therapy on the self-esteem and classroom behaviors of a student with an emotional/behavioral disorder. An 18-year-old male attending a special education school in northeastern St. Paul participated in animal-assisted therapy research for four weeks. Quantitative data were collected from the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory and classroom behavior tracking sheets. The findings of this research reveal an increase in the student’s self-esteem and an improvement in the student’s classroom behaviors. The results of this study provide important evidence for teachers of students with emotional/behavioral disorders to further consider animal-assisted therapy as a tool to improve the social skills and self-esteem of students.


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