Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology - Florida School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Kathie Bates, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Eric Rosen, Ph.D.


This literature review addresses the use of live and robotic animal-assisted therapy for psychological and cognitive health in military populations. More specifically, this literature review aims to address the benefits and limitations of the use of live animal-assisted therapy, complementary and alternative techniques (i.e., Combat and Emotional Stress Control Dogs and social robots) for military personnel, and possible attitudinal barriers regarding active duty and veteran soldiers, while utilizing literature conducted with the civilian population to augment. A systematic review of peer-reviewed quantitative and qualitative publications and book chapters was utilized to accomplish this. Results of the literature review indicated that animal-assisted therapy and the use of complementary and alternative techniques has been found to not only improve psychological and cognitive health of military personnel but can also positively impact the individual’s interpersonal functioning and quality of life. General limitations of the literature review included limited empirical studies, a reliance on qualitative information, small sample sizes, lack of standardization, and lack of detailed demographic information. General clinical implications included the lengthy process to obtain an animal, the cost, adverse effects on the individual, stress to the animal, and proper utilization of the intervention. Recommendations for future research include the completion of more empirical studies for animal-assisted therapy and complementary and alternative techniques with military personnel with a focus on the specific impact the intervention has, exploring the theory regarding the mechanisms of how animal-assisted therapy works, and the creation of a succinct policy for the use of animal-assisted therapy on military instillations.