A Horses and Humans Research Foundation (HHRF) funded study has been published in the Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Childhood.

Principal Investigator Andrea Beetz PhD shared the news recently that her team’s research project entitled A Comparison of Equine-Assisted Intervention and Conventional Play-Based Early Intervention for Mother-Child Dyads with Insecure Attachment has been published.

From the abstract:

Insecure attachment, both of the child and of the mother, has been identified as a risk factor for early regulation disorders and further child development. Based on accumulating evidence of effectiveness of animal-assisted interventions, we implemented an Equine-Assisted Intervention (EAI) as an early intervention approach for mother-child-dyads and investigated its effects in comparison to a conventional play-based early intervention (PBI) in a randomized controlled trial. Both interventions took place once a week for 45 minutes over a period of 8 weeks and aimed at improving maternal caregiving and security in the mother-child relationship. Twenty mother-child dyads (children aged 12 to 24 months) from a high-risk background, in some of which the child already displayed dysregulation symptoms, were investigated. Attachment of mother and child, maternal caregiving, and interaction within the dyad were assessed before and after the intervention. Overall both approaches led to significant improvements in mother-child relationship and interaction, both having specific advantages over the other. When given the choice, the majority of mothers would prefer EAI, which points to a potential motivational effect.

Read the Abstract here.