Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Joseph, Rigaud



Anxiety and depression are among the most popular mental health issues in the United States and across the globe, as many people continue to face personal, familial, and systemic challenges in their lives. It is believed that equine activities (those that involve interactions with horses) can play a significant role in alleviating anxiety and depression levels in adults. So far, however, the existing scholarship contains just a handful of studies supporting such a claim. Using a pre-experimental design, this study sought to extend the mental health literature by assessing the impact of equine activities on anxiety and depression among 65 adults in the United States (N = 65). Non-parametric analyses of the data revealed a large effect size, even after controlling for all of the demographic variables (r = .52). That is, notwithstanding their limitations, the findings of this study suggested that equine activities are effective for reducing the severity of anxiety and depression among adults. These findings have implications for mental health and clinical social work practice in that practitioners can start considering the extent to which equine activities constitute a viable intervention for clients who experience mental health problems.

Keywords: anxiety, depression, equine activities, pre-experimental design, non-parametric analysis, clinical social work practice

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Social Work Commons