Study Overview


NCTId: NCT03729908

Status: Completed

Condition: Acquired Brain Injury

Study Type: Interventional

Sponsor: Swiss Tropical & Public Health Institute

Study Description


The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of an animal assisted mindfulness intervention (AAMI) on patients with acquired brain injuries on their global severity of psychological distress.

In addition, the effects on the patients’ symptoms of depression, anxiety, perceived stress, mood, coping and mindfulness/self-compassion will be assessed.

The study experimental condition consists of 6 weeks of intervention, containing 6 different modules. In every session, an animal will be present.

In the control condition, the same program and same exercises will be used without the presence of or reference to animals. Sessions take place two times a week for 6 weeks (leading up to a total of 12 experimental/control sessions), each lasting for about 60 minutes.

24 participants are planned to be included, 12 patients in each group.


It was estimated that a total sample of 24 participants (12 patients in each group) would provide enough power to detect a medium effect. Since we had several dropouts, two additional groups (one intervention and one control) were started. This lead to the inclusion of 31 participants with a total sample size of 25 participants finishing the program.



Inclusion Criteria:

Patients of REHAB Basel
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI); FIM (Functional Independence Measure) cut-off score defined as > 60
Depressive or/and anxiety symptoms
Psychological difficulties coping with the actual life situation
18 years or older
Willing to work with therapy animals
German speaking
Willingness to participate/informed consent

Exclusion Criteria:

Communication and articulation is not possible
Allergy to animals
Aversion against animals
Schizophrenic-related comorbidity
Mobilization to “Therapietiergarten” not possible

Healthy Volunteers: No

Gender: All

Min Age: 18 Years







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