Randomized Control Trial of an Animal-Assisted Intervention With Adjudicated Youth

This study is currently recruiting participants.
Verified May 2012 by Wayne State University
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Annmarie Cano, Wayne State University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
NCT01594606
First received: May 4, 2012
Last updated: May 8, 2012
Last verified: May 2012
  Purpose

The project involves testing the efficacy of an animal-assisted intervention (AAI). The AAI consists of a 10-week program in which adjudicated adolescents train shelter dogs and will be compared to a dog walking control group matched for educational content and dog contact time. The investigators expect that the AAI will result in improved empathy skills and that dog attachment will explain these findings. The investigators also explore the extent to which the AAI will improve internalizing and externalizing symptoms in these adolescents.


Condition Intervention Phase
Conduct Disorder
Depression
Anxiety
Behavioral: Animal-assisted intervention
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: RCT of an Animal-Assisted Intervention With Adjudicated Youth

Resource links provided by NLM:


Further study details as provided by Wayne State University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Change in Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms as measured by the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist-Teacher Report and Youth Self Report forms [ Time Frame: baseline and 10 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    The Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist is a standardized measure of child behavior problems that assesses observers' and children's reports of the children's anxiety and depression (internalizing) and acting out (externalizing) behaviors.


Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Change in empathy toward other people [ Time Frame: baseline and 10 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    An observational measure was created for the purposes of this study in which a trained confederate acts as a potential student for the animal-assisted intervention. The confederate will express anxiety about the program and the participants' responses will be coded by trained raters for empathic content.


Estimated Enrollment: 128
Study Start Date: May 2012
Estimated Primary Completion Date: December 2013 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Animal-assisted
This group receives the dog training program in which they will be teaching a dog basic obedience skills.
Behavioral: Animal-assisted intervention
The experimental group will receive 10 weeks of classroom training and hands-on experience working with dogs to teach them basic obedience skills. Each participant will work with the same dog each week. The active control group will receive 10 weeks of classroom training and will walk a different dog each week but will not teach obedience skills to the dogs.
Active Comparator: Dog Walking
This group will walk a different dog each week but will not engage in dog training.
Behavioral: Animal-assisted intervention
The experimental group will receive 10 weeks of classroom training and hands-on experience working with dogs to teach them basic obedience skills. Each participant will work with the same dog each week. The active control group will receive 10 weeks of classroom training and will walk a different dog each week but will not teach obedience skills to the dogs.

Detailed Description:

Adjudicated adolescents (i.e., teens who have committed criminal offenses and are incarcerated in juvenile detention centers) have deficits in emotion regulation, including empathy skills, and are at risk for a host of poor outcomes including repeat offenses, internalizing symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety), externalizing symptoms (e.g., lying, truancy, fighting). Many of these problems stem from a lack of secure attachment to parents and peers. There is a need for novel and innovative programs to help these teens develop more secure attachments and better empathy skills to prevent poor outcomes. One type of intervention is animal-assisted interventions such as dog training programs. These programs appear to build empathy skills in at-risk youth, which may translate into better peer relations, less psychological distress, and less recidivism. The goal of this study is to test an existing animal-assisted intervention program that is already being used in juvenile detention centers to determine whether it is efficacious in improving adjudicated adolescents' empathy skills and psychological symptoms through building a secure attachment to the training dog.

  Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study:   14 Years to 17 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • must be a resident of participating juvenile justice center in Michigan

Exclusion Criteria:

  • none
  Contacts and Locations
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01594606

Contacts
Contact: Annmarie Cano, Ph.D. 3135771492 acano@wayne.edu

Locations
United States, Michigan
Macomb County Juvenile Justice Center Recruiting
Mt. Clemens, Michigan, United States, 48043
Contact: Amy Johnson, MA    313-577-0084    amyjohnson915@hotmail.com   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Wayne State University
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Annmarie Cano, PhD Wayne State University
  More Information

Additional Information:
No publications provided

Responsible Party: Annmarie Cano, Associate Professor, Wayne State University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01594606     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R03HD070621, R03HD070621
Study First Received: May 4, 2012
Last Updated: May 8, 2012
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board

Keywords provided by Wayne State University:
Animal-assisted intervention
adjudicated adolescents
empathy

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Anxiety Disorders
Depression
Depressive Disorder
Conduct Disorder
Mental Disorders
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders
Mental Disorders Diagnosed in Childhood

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on April 17, 2014