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The Anthrozoomorphic Identity: Furry Fandom Members’ Connections to Nonhuman Animals

By Sharon E. Roberts, Courtney N. Plante, Kathleen C. Gerbasi, Stephen Reysen

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

We examined furry fandom members’ anthrozoomorphic identity by investigating this subculture's relationship with nonhuman animals. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses and two largescale Internet and convention-based studies of furries, we developed (study 1; n=4,338) and replicated (study 2; n=1,707) the 10-item Species Connection Scale, which is a three-factor model of felt connection to animals: (1) a sense of appreciation or liking for a species, (2) a sense of spiritual or mystical connection to a species, and (3) a feeling of identification with or as another species. We then used this model to predict participants’ psychological wellbeing and tendency to attribute human-like traits and emotions to animals. The results indicated that (1) liking animals may be related to the ascription of secondary emotions to animals (supported in study 1, but not study 2), but was not associated with participant wellbeing (supported by both studies); (2) a spiritual connection to animals did not necessarily predict greater attribution of primary or secondary emotions to animals, but it was associated with greater psychological wellbeing (positive self-esteem in both studies; life satisfaction in study 1); (3) identification as an animal was strongly associated both with a tendency to avoid attributing secondary emotions to animals and negative participant wellbeing (supported by both studies). This research furthers our understanding of one subcultures’ felt connection with animals and suggests that further explorations of how connection with animals affects human welfare are warranted.

Publication Title Anthrozoös
Volume 28
Issue 4
Pages 533-548
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2015.1069993
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Tags
  1. Anthropomorphism
  2. Human-animal bond
  3. identity
  4. Zoomorphism