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The relationship between types of human-animal interaction and attitudes about animals: an exploratory study

By M. K. Mueller

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Abstract

Existing theory and research suggests that understanding the nuances of particular instantiations of human-animal relationships is important in promoting positive, mutually beneficial relationships between people and animals. One such aspect of human-animal interaction (HAI) involves species of animal involved in the relationship, and how various types of HAI may impact individuals' attitudes about animals. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore if species and/or types of animal ownership were associated with feelings of emotional attachment, commitment, and moral orientation toward animals. A sample of young adults ( n=567) from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development completed a survey which included questions about animal ownership and attitudes about animals. Regression analyses demonstrated that the species of animal(s) a person owned significantly predicted all three dimensions of attitudes about animals. In addition, latent class analyses identified three prevalent types of animal interaction (no/few animals, small animals only, large and small animals), and multinomial logistic regression within the mixture model indicated that individuals in these subgroups significantly differed in moral orientation scores. Overall, the analyses strengthen support for the notion that species of animal involved in the interaction matters, and that relationships with various species of animals may differ qualitatively. These findings have implications for understanding the role of the relationship between types of animal ownership and attitudes about animals. Exploring the multifaceted nature of human-animal relationships is important in understanding how to optimize the person and animal characteristics that are associated with adaptive, mutually beneficial human-animal relationships.

Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 295-308
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.2752/175303714x13903827487728
Language English
Author Address Center for Animals and Public Policy, Deparment of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA.megan.mueller@tufts.edu
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Anthrozoology
  4. Attitudes
  5. Conflict
  6. Emotions
  7. Human behavior
  8. Humans
  9. Hygiene
  10. Mammals
  11. Men
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Primates
  14. Relationships
  15. Social psychology and social anthropology
  16. vertebrates
  17. youth
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed