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Abstract

Background: Pet therapy could help individuals improve their emotions; and physical and mental health. It also could be effective in the treatment of pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of pet therapy, concurrent with common medication on positive, negative, cognitive and motor symptoms of schizophrenia. Methods: This was a randomized control trial. Statistical population of the current study included all patients who were admitted to the Razi Psychiatric Center of Tehran and received a diagnosis of schizophrenia based on a clinical interview and DSM criteria by a psychiatrist. Thirty six patients were recruited using snowball sampling. Members of the experimental group were transported by a bus to that spot at 9 a.m on the planned days, in the company of the researcher and a nurse. Patients gave care of the rabbits (including feeding, tidying their cages, moving their cages) for 24 sessions of 90 minutes, three days per week during autumn 2016. The One-way covariance test was also used to evaluate effects of Pet therapy on positive, negative, cognitive and motor symptoms of schizophrenia. Results: finding indicated that considering scores of pre-test for positive, negative and cognitive symptoms, there is a significant difference between the two controls and experimental groups, respectively, (F = 17.04, p < 0.05), (F = 17.39, p < 0.05), (F = 152.12, p < 0.05). Conclusion: Pet therapy could be successfully applied by parents, psychologists and care givers of these patients. We suggest using pet therapy for treatment of other psychiatric disorders as well and preferably like dogs and cats.
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