Narrative Synthesis Of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy Literature: Current Knowledge And Future Research Directions

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily Dakin, Associate Professor, Departmental Honors Program Director (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is an innovative emerging approach to mental health treatment. This narrative synthesis explores the current state of knowledge and areas for future research in EAP. Specifically reviewed are qualitative and quantitative empirical studies, including both articles published in peer-reviewed journals and research presented in theses and dissertations. We selected 24 studies for final inclusion in this study, dating between 2005 and 2013, and including the first EAP empirical research completed in 2005. Four of these studies are peer-reviewed journal articles, while 20 are master's theses or doctoral dissertations. The reviewed qualitative research provides initial evidence for the value of EAP for enhancing adolescents' communication and relationship skills. The reviewed experimental and quasi-experimental research provides initial evidence for the value of EAP for enhancing children's and adolescents' emotional, social and behavioural functioning. Yet, conclusions about the effectiveness of EAP must still be considered preliminary due to various methodological limitations in the reviewed research. The narrative review describes these methodological limitations and concludes with recommendations for future research.

Additional Information

Lee, P.-T., Dakin, E. and McLure, M. (2016), Narrative synthesis of equine-assisted psychotherapy literature: Current knowledge and future research directions. Health Soc Care Community, 24: 225-246. doi:10.1111/hsc.12201. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2015
equine, equine-assisted psychotherapy, horse, narrative synthesis, psychotherapy, research

Email this document to