Farm animal-assisted intervention: relationship between work and contact with farm animals and change in depression, anxiety, and self-efficacy among persons with clinical depression

Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2011;32(8):493-500. doi: 10.3109/01612840.2011.566982.


Fourteen adults with clinical depression participated twice a week in a 12-week farm animal-assisted intervention consisting of work and contact with dairy cattle. Each participant was video-recorded twice during the intervention, and the recordings were categorized with respect to various work tasks and animal and human contact. Levels of anxiety and depression decreased and self-efficacy increased during the intervention. Interaction with farm animals via work tasks showed a greater potential for improved mental health than via sole animal contact, but only when progress in working skills was achieved, indicating the role of coping experiences for a successful intervention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animal Assisted Therapy*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic*
  • Anxiety / rehabilitation
  • Cattle*
  • Dairying*
  • Depressive Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Self Efficacy
  • Task Performance and Analysis