We partnered with Clinical Outcomes Group and SIU Carbondale’s department of psychology to perform a study on PTSD service dogs used in a trauma resiliency program to understand the long term effects of our work. What we found is a trauma resiliency program when combined with the use of highly trained PTSD service dogs does help veterans with PTSD.
Our research includes multiple measures of symptoms associated with PTSD. The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder checklist (PCL) indicates the severity of PTSD symptoms and is used by the DOD and VA to help diagnose PTSD in veterans. It is also used to measure progress over time. Pre- and post-test scores on the PCL dropped dramatically from high levels of PTSD to nearly normal ranges within three weeks. Significant improvements were recorded in clinical depression and negative cognitions. There was a very large effect size reported for these outcomes.
Our results for two classes show veterans entering with high levels of PTSD symptoms and in three weeks graduating with much less distress. This was also found for measures of depression, anxiety, and anger along with increases in perceived social support and overall quality of life.
The study on our program was published this spring in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
The study can be downloaded here:
Study was performed by Megan L. Kloep and Sarah J. Kertz of Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Richard H. Hunter of Clinical Outcomes Group.