Equine-assisted activities and the impact on perceived social support, self-esteem and self-efficacy among adolescents - an intervention study

Hilde Hauge, Ingela L Kvalem, Bente Berget, Marie-José Enders-Slegers, Bjarne O Braastad

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In this project, we examined the effect of a 4-month intervention with horses on perceived social support, self-esteem and general self-efficacy among Norwegian adolescents aged 12-15 years. The intervention took place at farm-based stables and included work with the horses and riding. A waiting-list crossover design was used and the participants answered questionnaires at three time periods. Study I (N = 49) examined the effect of the intervention compared with the control group. Study II (N = 41) examined the relationship between the same psychological variables and change in mastering skills with horse. The intervention group reported a significant increase in perceived social support compared with the control group. There were no differences in self-esteem and general self-efficacy between the groups. The results from study II showed that a lower level of perceived social support prior to the intervention predicted an increase in mastering skills with the horse during the intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescence and Youth
Issue number1
Early online date13 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014



  • adolescents
  • horses
  • intervention
  • social support
  • equine-assisted activities

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