Samenvatting

The influence of service dogs for people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

G. Opsimos, G.A. ten Hoor, A. Wijne & G. Kok

Objective: exploring the literature to identify of having a service dog can aid in the amelioration of PTSD or upcoming traumatic experiences, or other benefi ts. Method: Research articles were identifi ed in PubMed and Psychinfo. “Service dog” and synonyms were used for the queries. From the identifi ed articles, information regarding PTSD symptomatology and the potential for trauma reducing effects were extracted. Results: Published data point towards a positive effect in the amelioration of PTSD symptoms. Interventions also depicted a buffering effect towards stress associated with potential or existing traumatic experiences. Participants reported improvements in depressive symptoms, socialization, emotional connectedness and well-being. Reported disadvantages concerned costs, training, and social stigma. Conclusion: Having or using a service dog benefi ts users regarding PTSD and psychological well-being.


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In de loop der jaren hebben de meeste hondenrassen zich ontwikkeld tot geliefd huisdier: ze zijn trouw, oordelen niet en bieden de nodige steun en gezelschap (Shipman, 2010). Getrainde hulphonden kunnen hun eigenaren helpen en ondersteunen bij het verrichten van diverse taken. Maar wat voor invloed heeft een hulphond precies op mensen met een traumatische ervaring? En wat kunnen we leren op basis van de bestaande kennis? In dit artikel vatten George Opsimos en collega’s de internationale, wetenschappelijke literatuur samen.

Wat is (de rol van) een hulphond?

De aanleiding voor dit literatuuronderzoek is de onduidelijkheid over het nut van hulphonden bij mensen met een trauma. Volgens de verzekeringswet moet de aanvraag voor zo’n hulphond plaatsvinden bij de afdeling Wet maatschappelijke ondersteuning (Wmo) van de betreende gemeente. Gemeenten, Wmo-ambtenaren, soms wethouders, gaan daar heel verschillend mee om. Omdat het argument meestal is dat de wetenschappelijke evidentie voor het nuttig effect van een hulphond ontbreekt, hebben we de empirische evidentie in dit artikel in kaart gebracht.

Hulphonden zijn speciaal opgeleid om mensen te helpen (zie ook box 1). Zo kunnen ze worden ingezet voor mensen met fysieke beperkingen, maar ze worden bijvoorbeeld ook gebruikt voor het opsporen van bepaalde ziekten (in de gezondheidszorg), drugs (bijvoorbeeld bij de douane) of het opsporen van criminelen (recherche).

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