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Dr. Flaherty-Fischette's Research

Research findings from our board president

Dr. Flaherty-Fischette's Research

Some of the symptoms associated with eating disorderss have been previously treated through Animal Assisted Interventions (AAIs) in studies conducted with different populations and diseases. AAI may lead to benefits in relationships and affect regulation. These variables are common vulnerabilities present among individuals with eating disorders. To better understand the relational and affective impact of AAI, Dr. Flaherty-Fischette’s qualitative study explored how women diagnosed with eating disorders experienced AAI in their eating disorder treatment. Using the purposive sampling strategy, 38 semi-structured interviews with 20 women participated in the study that employed grounded theory methods. Findings suggested that AAI facilitated safe affect regulation practice and opportunities for connection and relational comfort. Dr. Flaherty-Fischette’s research was the first study to explore AAI (inclusive of both equine and canine-assisted therapies) with eating disorders.

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