Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Therapeutic horsemanship: A treatment modality for children to improve their self -concept
by Verghese, Jaci Lurene, Ph.D., Walden University, 2009, 103; 3355074
Abstract (Summary)

Anxiety and behavioral problems can occur in children with low self concepts which may lead them into therapy. However, children do not always improve with traditional therapy and parents will seek alternative treatment options. While subjective reports using therapeutic horsemanship (using a horse) have indicated positive changes in a child's emotional symptoms; to date, no studies have empirically demonstrated its efficacy. This quasi-experimental study used Jung's analytical theory and Bandura's behavioral theory as the theoretical foundation. The study examined whether therapeutic horsemanship would improve children's self-concept compared to children who did not participate in therapeutic horsemanship. The convenience sample consisted of children between 9 and 16 years of age with low self-concepts and a diagnosed psychiatric disorder. Forty-one participants from two therapeutic horsemanship centers in central Pennsylvania participated in a 10-week study. Participants completed a pretest and posttest using the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale, 2nd Edition. A 2x2 analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) used treatment length as the covariate. The analysis did not yield significant results indicating that therapeutic horsemanship changes a child's self-concept. However, subjective feedback from parents indicated benefits of therapeutic horsemanship, including improved behavior and decreased anxiety. The results of this study suggest that future research should use mixed method approaches, larger samples, and more sensitive instruments. Such studies could promote positive social change by empowering parents with an additional non-invasive option to help their children with low self-concepts.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rasmussen, Sandra
Commitee: Cawthon, Stephanie, Taylor, Reginald
School: Walden University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-B 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Horsemanship, Self-concept, Therapeutic horsemanship, Therapy on horses, Treatment
Publication Number: 3355074
ISBN: 978-1-109-13095-9
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