- Volume 36
This study was conducted to find out the effects of visiting companion dog program on people with chronic mental disability. Visiting companion dog program was carried out for one hour every week for about three months between January and March of 1997 for chronic schizophrenic patients with severe negative symptoms and evaluated by the treatment team as those who are incapable of participating in any other program aside from medication. In order to measure the effects of the program PANSS: Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale was conducted by two trained evaluators. The results showed that there was a statistically significant decrease in scores of negative symtoms and general psypathological symtoms. Moreover, scaling scores reported by the nurses and occupational therapist also reveal that the patients show positive changes such as improvement in conversational interaction and facial expressions. Such results evidence that companion animals can have positive emotional and mental influence on people with chronic mental disability. Furthermore the fact that the visiting companion dog program became a program that the chronically mentally disabled who could not participate in any other program can easily participate and enjoy is a meaningful finding in and of itself.