Background: People have long found support by interacting with animals, which has developed into a health care modality called animal-assisted interactions (AAI). In the past 10 years, AAI has increased as a way to support college students’ mental health; however, there is no comprehensive evidence on the effectiveness of these programs.
Method: A scoping review was conducted using the JBI and PRISMA-ScR criteria. Empirical articles were identified through Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost), PsychINFO (Ovid), and Web of Science using three groups of keywords: AAI, college students, and mental health.
Results: Of the 1,195 publications identified, 37 met this study’s eligibility criteria. Results reported statistically significant (positive) changes in college students’ mental health within the cognitive, physiological, psychological, and social quality of life domains.
Contributions: This study demonstrated that AAI for college student mental health is an emerging interest in research, practice, and education; however, a robust understanding of these programs remains vastly understudied.