This qualitative research was conducted to add to the body of knowledge that supports the benefits of service dogs (SDs), as a tertiary treatment modality, to veterans with post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
This grounded theory research design utilized open‐ended, semi‐structured interviews with veterans (n = 10) who were using SDs as a treatment modality for PTSD and/or TBI. Transcripts were analyzed using NVivo qualitative software until data saturation was achieved.
Results from the data analysis identified 4 major themes with concurrent subthemes. The most prominent themes were functional status, impact of a SD, recognition of symptoms of PTSD and/or TBI by the SD, and barriers and challenges to the acquisition of a SD. Participants reported that the SD increased socialization and was a positive adjunct to treatment modalities for PTSD and/or TBI.
Our study highlights the benefits of using a SD as a tertiary treatment for PTSD and/or TBI in veterans. Veterans in our study articulated the benefits of using a SD as a tertiary treatment option, and the need to make this a standard treatment option for all veterans who suffer from PTSD and/or TBI.
Shiroff, Jennifer; Gray, Kathy; Santulli, Gabrielle; DiDonato, Stephen; and Fulford, Jacqueline O'Rourke, "A Qualitative Exploration of the Use of Service Dogs in Veterans With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury" (2022). College of Nursing Faculty Papers & Presentations. Paper 121.
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