Project Director

Peyer, Karissa

Department Examiner

McDonald, Susan


Dept. of Health and Human Performance


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The objective of this review is to determine whether Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) are a viable form of therapy for people with various developmental disorders. A viable form of therapy is one that is more beneficial than traditional forms of therapy that already exist, as traditional therapies may be generally less expensive and have plentiful research to support their use). In order to be beneficial, EAAT would need to yield improved results when either compared side by side with traditional therapy or used as a complementary therapy with traditional therapy. In this systematic review, the included studies examined the effect of an EAAT intervention for individuals with a developmental disorder such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Downs Syndrome (DS). Studies that focused on participants with cerebral palsy were excluded as well as studies that were not written in English. Results were compared between studies, with a focus on social outcomes in four categories: communication, social motivation, socialization, and social functioning. There were 18 studies included in the final research. It was found that EAAT is generally beneficial for people with developmental disorders. A limiting factor of this review was the inconsistent methodology between studies. This included the sample sizes, outcomes measured, and the methods of measurement. More research needs to be completed regarding the long-term effects of EAAT; however, even as an on-going treatment, EAAT may be viable.


To Dr. Peyer, my thesis director: because of you, I understand the research process and scientific writing in a way I never have before. That will be invaluable in the years to come To Dr. McDonald: with your help, I have a clear picture of OT that I will take with me into OT school and my future career. I appreciate greatly you both for your willingness to teach, discuss, and guide me through this thesis process. I believe that I have learned an incredible amount and grown throughout this time, and none of it would have been possible without the two of you. Thank you.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Horsemanship--Therapeutic use; Recreational therapy


EAAT; Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies; Hippotherapy; Developmental Disorders


Occupational Therapy

Document Type



30 leaves