The Efficacy of Psychiatric Assistance Dogs for Posttraumatic Stress
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The Efficacy of Psychiatric Assistance Dogs for Posttraumatic Stress

University of Southern Queensland - University of Southern Queensland

Human Research Ethics Approval Number - H20REA284

Research Team Contact Details


Principal Investigator Details

Supervisor Details

Karina Heyworth


Telephone: +61 458801620

Dr Carla Jeffries


Telephone: +61 7 4631 1572


Assoc. Prof Gavin Beccaria


Telephone: +61 7 4631 2382



This project is being undertaken as part of Doctor of Philosophy program. The overall aim of the project is to examine the efficacy of psychiatric assistance dogs (PAD) as a complementary intervention for reducing and managing posttraumatic stress symptomology and functioning.

Specifically, this project is interested in (a) former/current treatment/s used to help manage symptoms and the role of PAD in treatment, (b) decisions surrounding the acquisition of a PAD and the benefits and challenges of living with a PAD, (c) your experience with PAD training programs (group and individual sessions) or self-training your dog to become a certified PAD, (d) your perception of the most important trained and untrained PAD characteristics, (e) the impact PAD has had on your intrapersonal and interpersonal functioning and (f) your current perceptions of your symptoms and functioning.  

The overall implication of the project is to provide preliminary evidence of whether the provision of a PAD is an effective complementary posttraumatic stress intervention and the viability for future recommendations in Australian mental health recovery model approaches.


Your participation will involve the completion of an online questionnaire that will take approximately 30-40 minutes of your time. Most survey questions will require you to indicate your agreeance to and/or perceived importance of a question by providing a rating (1 to 5). There are also several open-ended questions that will require you to briefly respond (one or two sentences).  

Your participation in this project is entirely voluntary. If you do not wish to take part, you are not obliged to. If you decide to take part and later change your mind, you are free to withdraw from the project at any stage. You may also request that any data collected about you be withdrawn and confidentially destroyed. If you do wish to withdraw from this project, please contact the Research Team (contact details at the top of this form).

Your decision whether you take part, do not take part, or to take part and then withdraw, will in no way impact your current or future relationship with the University of Southern Queensland.

To demonstrate our appreciation for your participation, at the end of the survey, you will have a choice to enter a random prize draw to win one of two $50 Pet barn vouchers. Additionally, $5 will be donated to a non-profit assistance dog organisation (of your choice) after you complete the survey. This token is to thank you for your support and contribution in assisting our research for a better understanding of the unique role the assistance dog provides in facilitating posttraumatic recovery progress and outcomes.

Expected Benefits

It is expected that this project will not directly benefit you. However, it is anticipated that you may benefit from sharing and reflecting on your journey with your PAD thus far, and this will inform future research and potentially others who are thinking of using a PAD in the future. You will also receive our gratitude for helping with our research.


In participating in the questionnaire, there are risks such as distress or discomfort when disclosing sensitive information. In order to mitigate against this risk, the questionnaires will not ask questions directly related to traumatic event/s. Furthermore, there may be a minimal risk such as distress and/or anxiety surrounding whether personal information about you were to be made publicly available. The researcher will mitigate against this risk by ensuring all publicly available information is non-identifiable.

Sometimes thinking about the sorts of issues raised in the interview can create some uncomfortable or distressing feelings.  If you need to talk to someone about this immediately, please contact:

The USQ Psychology and Counselling Clinics - 07 4631 1763 (Toowoomba) or 07 3812 6163 (Ipswich)

Beyond Blue 24/7 1300 22 46 36;

Lifeline 24/7 131114;

MensLine Australia 24/7 1300789978;

SANE Australia 1800187263 or

MI Networks 1800985944.

You may also wish to consider consulting your General Practitioner (GP) for additional support.

Privacy and Confidentiality

  • All comments and responses will be treated confidentially unless required by law.
  • Individuals completing the surveys will be de-identified.
  • Participants data will be made available for future research purposes for similar projects only and non-identifiable data will be stored and shared.
  • Participants will have an opportunity to access the anonymous project summary of results by emailing the principal investigator.
  • Any data collected as a part of this project will be stored securely as per University of Southern Queensland’s Research Data Management policy.

Consent to Participate

Clicking on the ‘Submit’ button at the conclusion of the questionnaire is accepted as an indication of your consent to participate in this project.

Questions or Further Information about the Project

Please refer to the Research Team Contact Details at the top of the form to have any questions answered or to request further information about this project.

Concerns or Complaints Regarding the Conduct of the Project

If you have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the project you may contact the University of Southern Queensland Manager of Research Integrity and Ethics by email The Manager of Research Integrity and Ethics is not connected with the research project and can facilitate a resolution to your concern in an unbiased manner.


Thank you for taking the time to help with this research project.