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

By Joshua Trigg, Kirrilly Thompson, Bradley Smith, Pauleen Bennett

Category Journal Articles

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.

Date 2016
Publication Title Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 54-81
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

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