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Therapeutic riding (TR) is a multisensory experience that increases mental and physical heath by emphasizing skills such as verbal and non-verbal communication, behavioral and emotional control, and attention; additionally, improvements in balance and muscle strength occur in the rider (Bass et al., 2009). However, the present literature is lacking in research on how adults with ASD are impacted by participation in TR. The goal of the present study is to determine the impact of TR on social responsiveness and stress levels on adults with ASD which included a sample of 8 therapeutic riding instructors from the United States. Instructors reported on the social responsiveness and stress levels of their adult riders with ASD at the start and end of six weeks of TR. The Adult Social Behavior Scale- Other Report (Horwitz et al., 2016) and an adapted version of the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen at al., 1983) were used as pre-and post-tests to compare the changes over time. Results of the paired sample t-tests showed no significant changes in observed social behaviors including contact, empathy, interpersonal insight, violations of social conventions, or in observed stress. These findings, though not signifincant, advocate for more research on adults and TR as this is an underserved population in the literature.



Faculty Advisor

Veronica Fruhit

Publication Date



San Rafael


Autism Spectrum Disorder


Other Psychology | Psychology

Adults with ASD: Therapeutic Riding and Observed Social Behaviors and Stress Levels