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Love, fear, and the human-animal bond: On adversity and multispecies relationships

By J. W. Applebaum, E. L. MacLean, S. E. McDonald

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Love and strong social bonds are known buffers in the experience of adversity. Humans often form strong bonds with non-human animals. The human-animal bond refers to a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between humans and non-human animals. Previous research suggests that strong bonds with pets may promote resilience in the experience of adversity, but a strong bond with a pet can also complicate this very experience of adversity, particularly among low-resourced and disadvantaged populations. What is the role of the human-animal bond in adversity, and what is the role of adversity in the bond between a human and a non-human animal? In this article we outline the state of research on the role of various types and sources of adversities in multispecies households (i.e., families, relationships) to consider this overarching question. We focus specifically on intimate partner violence, housing discrimination, LGBTQ+ identity-based discrimination, racism, neighborhood disadvantage, and economic inequality. We then outline an agenda for future research about love, adversity, and multispecies relationships, and discuss implications for public policy and community-based interventions.

Date 2021
Publication Title Compr Psychoneuroendocrinol
Volume 7
ISBN/ISSN 2666-4976
DOI 10.1016/j.cpnec.2021.100071
Author Address University of Florida, Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law, Gainesville, FL, USA.University of Arizona, School of Anthropology & College of Veterinary Medicine, Tucson, AZ, USA.Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Social Work, Richmond, VA, USA.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Companion
  2. Human-animal bond
  3. Human-animal interactions
  4. Multispecies
  5. open access
  6. Pets and companion animals
  1. open access