The role of human-animal interactions in self-esteem, self-regulation, and social skills deficits in children with ADHD

HS 2010-7679
ADHD, Pediatric
Sabrina Schuck, PhD
University of California, Irvine Child Development Center, 19722 MacArthur Blvd., Irvine, CA, 92612
The purpose of this research study is to investigate the potential efficacy of human-animal interactions on neurodevelopmentally disordered children in a therapeutic school setting. The overall goal of this  project is to study the effects of a standardized, 12-week Social Skills Training Program enhanced by Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) on 7- to 9-year-old children with ADHD. The participants will be randomly assigned to an HAI or sham HAI intervention in an after-school setting.
Children age 7-9 years old who are seeking intervention for problems with attention, social skills and disruptive behavior. All subjects will be either medication naïve or not currently on medication treatment for ADHD symptoms at the time of study enrollment. Children with a current diagnosis of depression, anxiety, epilepsy, specific allergies to dogs, or other major medical conditions or currently taking stimulant medication will be excluded from participating.
The HAI intervention will consist of 27 or 28, 2-3 hour sessions over a 12 week period. There will also be a follow up 6 weeks after the intervention to assess the maintenance and short-term generalization of the training. Some families may have to wait up to 12 weeks for the start of a group.
HAI may help increase self-esteem and self-regulation in children with ADHD as well as  improve socially appropriate behaviors. It is possible, however, that no therapeutic or other direct benefits may  result from participation in this trial.
Subjects will participate in 3 or 4 lab school days and will receive $75 for each. They will also be compensated $50 per week for each of the 12 weeks of the social skills training. Subjects who participate in 3 lab school days will receive a total of $825 and those in 4 lab school days will receive a total of $900.
Audrey Kapelinski, Child Development Center