Animal-assisted therapy to treat depression in adolescent oncology patients
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Undergraduate honors thesis / Open Access
Depression is a mental health condition that affects individuals across all age groups, but is especially prevalent among adolescents due to numerous biological and psychosocial factors. Depression is also especially prevalent among cancer patients due to treatment side effects, uncertainty about the future, and general disease related distress and pain. Considering that adolescents are already at-risk for depression, they are put even further at-risk if they develop cancer. The comorbidity of cancer and depression can exacerbate cancer symptoms and increase rates of mortality. Both formal and informal human-animal interactions have demonstrated promising outcomes in lessening depressive symptoms, with multiple studies lending support to animal-assisted therapy (AAT). However the effectiveness of AAT on adolescents, particularly those with cancer, remains understudied. By addressing existing research gaps in the literature on AAT for adolescent oncology patients suffering from depression, we can develop effective interventions specific to this vulnerable population
Schick, E. (2023, May 23). Animal-assisted therapy to treat depression in adolescent oncology patients [Unpublished undergraduate thesis]. Yeshiva University.
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