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The Coleman Dog Attitude Scale (C-DAS): development, refinement, validation, and reliability

By J. A. Coleman, B. Green, R. C. Garthe, E. L. Worthington, S. B. Barker, K. M. Ingram

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Human-animal interactions have been studied for many years. As the human-animal interaction field continues to grow, the need for measures that adequately assess fundamental human-animal domains (e.g., relationships, interactions, attachments, bonds) also increases. Specifically, attitudes toward dogs is an important construct given that dogs are commonly owned pets and there is a preponderance of human-animal interaction research focusing on dogs. The current study involved the development, refinement, reliability, and validation of a scale measuring attitudes toward dogs (the Coleman Dog Attitude Scale; C-DAS). Items for the scale were developed through a previous unpublished study that assessed individuals' attitudes toward dogs using the tripartite model (i.e., thoughts, feelings, and behaviors) of attitude structure. Experts winnowed down items to develop a 63-item scale for Study 1. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted on data from undergraduate students (N=502). A one-factor solution was produced and the measure was refined to a 24-item scale. The C-DAS had an α of 0.98. In Study 2 (N=219 undergraduates), a 2-week test-retest reliability analysis was conducted (r=0.75) and evidence of construct validity was assessed. The C-DAS had an α of 0.98 at Time 1 and 0.99 at Time 2. In Study 3 (N=125), a community sample was utilized to conduct a confirmatory factor analysis and adduce additional evidence for construct validity. In this sample, the C-DAS had an alpha of 0.98. The C-DAS was deemed to have adequate psychometric support to be used in further research. Scores on the C-DAS predicted behavioral intentions of interacting with dogs, but did not consistently predict donating to a charity related to dogs or volunteering to help children who have a fear of dogs. The C-DAS showed significant, though weak, associations with measures of connections to animals and nature, and a strong association to measures of attitudes toward pets, providing some additional evidence of construct validity. The C-DAS has the potential to allow researchers to control for attitudes toward dogs in future studies examining human-animal interactions.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 176
Pages 77-86
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 806 W Franklin St., P.O. Box 842018, Richmond, Virginia,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Animal science
  4. Attitudes
  5. Behavioral research
  6. Canidae
  7. Canine
  8. Carnivores
  9. Children
  10. Companion
  11. Conflict
  12. Dogs
  13. Human behavior
  14. Humans
  15. Interactions
  16. Mammals
  17. Men
  18. Pets and companion animals
  19. Primates
  20. Psychiatry and psychology
  21. Relationships
  22. Research
  23. researchers
  24. social anthropology
  25. Social psychology and social anthropology
  26. students
  27. vertebrates
  28. Zoology