The impact of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on our combat veterans and their families is extensive. Symptoms of anxiety and the effects of sleep disturbance have a negative impact on daily functioning (Wright et al., 2011). The presence of a dog has demonstrated a reduction in anxiety symptoms, which may have a positive influence on improved sleep (Shearer, Hunt, Chowdhury, & Nicol, 2016). The Veterans Administration (VA) has been using canines to assist combat veterans in reintegrating into civilian life, and most currently, as a part of psychological therapy (Rubenstein, 2012). This research examined the impact on combat veterans with PTSD of receiving and training a service dog using Stake’s (2006) collective case study model. Interviews were conducted with fifteen combat veterans diagnosed with PTSD participating in a 14-week program for receiving and training their own service dog. The goal of the study was to explore the veterans’ experience of the training program, as well as determine any effect on their PTSD symptoms. Symptom severity decreases were reported, which had the residual effects of decreased anxiety symptoms, sleep disturbance, and nightmares.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Veterans, Anxiety, Service Dogs, Sleep Disturbance, Nightmares, Flashbacks, Case Study
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Recommended APA Citation
Scotland-Coogan, D. (2019). Anxiety Symptoms and Sleep Disturbance in Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: The Impact of Receiving and Training a Service Dog. The Qualitative Report, 24(10), 2655-2674. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3573