ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Anne E Nordberg


The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 14.5% of federal prisoners and 26.4% of jail inmates report serious psychological distress (SPD), which are rates that are significantly higher than the 5% rate found in the general adult population. The high prevalence of mental illness demonstrates the need to develop interventions that can help address an inmate’s mental health needs. The current study reports on an evaluation of the psychosocial impact of a dog training program for men incarcerated at the Dallas County Jail. Participants (N=17) completed surveys monitoring their symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, self-esteem, loneliness, and resilience at Time 1 and Time 2, five weeks later. Dependent sample t-tests were run to test the hypothesis that there are significant differences in participant responses between their first and last week in the program. Analyses revealed significant reductions in PCL-C (t (df=16), 3.030, p=.008) and CESD (t (df=16), 1.738, p=.101) scores when comparing the first and last week in the HfH program. An additional dependent samples t-test was run over individuals who had clinically significant scores (moderate to severe) for each measure. These analyses revealed even stronger effects on PCL-C scores (t (df=8), 4.498, p=.002) and GAD-7 scores (t (df=8), 2.622, p=.031). Successful completion of the HfH program led to significantly lower symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety, which indicates the potential strengths of this program and the need for more rigorous evaluations.


Mental health, Rehabilitation, Criminology, Criminal justice, Animal assisted intervention, PTSD, Depression, Anxiety


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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