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Reinsfelder, Amanda Marie (2006) INVESTIGATION OF THE EFFECTS OF SERVICE DOGS ON INDIVIDUALS WHO USE WHEELCHAIRS. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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With modern medicine and advances in technology, people are living longer and expecting a higher quality of life. Individuals may not be receiving the ideal assistive devices because they are not sure where to obtain the proper equipment, or what is available. An increased flow of informational publications needs to reach the consumers so they are able to make better informed decisions about their quality of life. Addressing the issue of limited resources, this study places a focus on the use of service dogs as a form of assistive technology. The main objective of this study was to collect data from individuals who had wheelchair service dogs and to compare the data to individuals who did not have a wheelchair service dog. Data were collected and analyzed on variables of assistive technology use, disability, human assistance used, depression, pain, fatigue, and activities of daily living. This information was collected as a baseline, after three months and after nine months. Of the 172 individuals who participated from the beginning of this study, 117 successfully completed all three surveys. For the baseline, there were significant relationships between the dog groups and the individuals who used assistive technology (p=0.02); between the dog group and the depression (CES-D) score (p=0.047); and between the dog group and the Pain I (Total Pain Rating Index) of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (p=0.01). Individuals in the control group used less assistive technology, and individuals in the service dog and wait list groups used the most assistive technology devices. Individuals on the wait list had significantly higher CESD scores, and individuals who had recently received a service dog had lower scores than those in the pet and control groups. Overall, depression scores increased for individuals who were on the waiting list to receive a dog, although not to a significant degree. Depression scores increased (insignificantly) at the second visit for service dog owners, but decreased at the third visit. Although not to a significant degree, pain generally decreased for service dog owners. Individuals with service dogs are able to participate in more activities of daily living, although they do still need help.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Reinsfelder, Amanda Marieamr57@pitt.eduAMR57
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFitzgerald, Shirley Gsgf9@pitt.eduSGF9
Committee MemberKelleher,
Committee MemberCollins,
Date: 14 June 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 18 April 2006
Approval Date: 14 June 2006
Submission Date: 19 May 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: assistive technology; depression; fatigue; pain; service dogs; wheelchairs
Other ID:, etd-05192006-092030
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:45
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:43


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