The Effect of a Dog Assisted Activity Programme οn Elementary Students’ Self-Esteem

George Kleftaras, Vangelis Diamantakos

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Background: The Dog Assisted Activities (DAA) programmes in schools are operating for more than three decades in various countries around the word. However, their operation and relevant research and study, is very limited currently in Greece.

Aim: The initial inspiration and ultimate goal for conducting this present study was to raise awareness and promote understanding around the implementation of DAA programmes in Greece; especially in primary education. The researchers tested the hypothesis that the students’ physical interaction with a trained dog may have a positive impact on their self-esteem. Methodology: The 44 students who took part in the study participated on a voluntary basis, and were randomly allocated into two groups: the experimental (n=19), and the control group (n=25). The experimental group interacted with a trained dog while the control group attended presentations on dog training. The researchers used a standardised questionnaire to measure and then compare the students’ self-esteem scores within and between the two groups. There were two times of measurement; before (Time 0) and after (Time 1) the implementation of the DAA programme.

Results: The analysis of the results revealed a statistically significant difference in the self-esteem of the experimental group students(p=.002). Additionally, the self-esteem scores displayed by the experimental group students after the intervention were higher to these displayed in the control group (p=.012). Conclusions: The present study’s findings suggest that the DDA programmes may positively impact and enhance the self-esteem of school students. However, as that was the first time a study of this type was conducted in Greece, further research is needed so to better examine and investigate the effects of the DDA programmes on elementary students’ well-being
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-334
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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