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Exploring risk propensity through pet-attachment diversity in natural hazard contexts

By J. Trigg, K. Thompson, B. Smith, P. Bennett

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This review examines the perceptual and behavioural influences that pet-attachment has on the ways in which owners view risk, appraise threat, and respond to environmental hazards. Understanding how human-companion animal relationships function in this context has profound implications for the welfare of both people and their animals. Despite originating from human-attachment models, current perspectives on relationships with companion animals commonly adopt a unidimensional view of pet-attachment as a singular bond. This bypasses important aspects of attachment, ignoring the diversity evident in these relationships and, consequently, differences in risk processes. We argue that by adopting a pet-attachment 'communities' model that more closely approximates human-attachment theory, a nuanced understanding of perceptual and behavioural risk propensities that distinguishes between different types of 'stronger' and 'weaker' or insecure attachments can be achieved. We consider how research regarding pet- and human-attachment can be used to identify potential communities of the pet-attached. A community perspective upon pet-owner risk propensity will contribute to a social-ecological understanding of these relationships as potential protective factors when confronting environmental threats. Finally, we propose that future research relating to pet-attachment can benefit from current human-attachment findings regarding the wider social nature of attachment relationships.

Publication Title Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 54-81
Language English
Author Address CQUniversity, Appleton Institute, Wayville,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Anthropology
  5. Behavioral research
  6. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  7. Canidae
  8. Canine
  9. Carnivores
  10. Cats
  11. Dogs
  12. Ecology
  13. Environment
  14. Humans
  15. Mammals
  16. Men
  17. natural disasters
  18. Pets and companion animals
  19. Primates
  20. Psychiatry and psychology
  21. Relationships
  22. Reviews
  23. Social psychology and social anthropology
  24. vertebrates
  25. Veterinary sciences
  26. welfare
  27. Zoology