Education And Child Development
PET OWNERSHIP IN CHILDHOOD AND SOCIO-EMOTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS, WORK VALUES AND PROFESSIONAL CHOICES IN EARLY ADULTHOOD
Vlasta Vizek-Vidovic, Lidija Arambic, Gordana Kercstes, Gordcina Kuterovac-Jagodic, Vesna Vlahovic-Stctic
University of Zagreb
The main goal of this study, partly retrospective in character, was to explore if and how pet ownership in childhood is related to several indicators of socio-emotional development, as well as work values and professional choices in early adulthood. The sample consisted of 356 students (200 females, 156 males) from different colleges of the University of Zagreb, representing helping (n=200) and non-helping (n=156) professions. The mean age of the students was 21 years.
Seventy-four percent of the participants had, had a pet during childhood, mostly dogs. Participants
who had owned a pet during childhood reported quite a strong attachment to it. In addition, pets were rated lower than family members and friends, but higher than television, relatives and neighbors in terms of the social support derived from them during childhood. Discriminant analysis was performed in order to examine whether young adults - those who had owned a pet during childhood and those who hadn 't - differed in emotional and motivational characteristics, and whether there was a correlation with their chosen subject of study. Pet ownership in childhood was a grouping variable, while measures of current socio-emotional functioning (empathy, prosocial behavior, social anxiety and loneliness), value orientations (self-actualisation, individualistic, social, utilitarian and adventurous) and chosen subject of study (helping or non-helping profession) were predictors. A significant discriminant function was obtained. Correlations between discriminating variables and discriminant function showed that young adults who had had a pet during childhood were more empathetic, more prone to choose helping professions, and more oriented towards social values than those who did not have a pet during childhood.
CUTE AND CUDDLY AND A WHOLE LOT MORE? A CALL FOR EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS OF HUMAN-ANIMAL INTERACTION FOR CHILDREN
Nicholas R. Fawcett, Eleonora Gullone
There are many indications that humans have a tendency to affiliate with nature, and with other living beings, including non-human species. Examples of such affiliation range from spending time in parks and nature reserves to humanising our companion animals to the point that we accord them family-member status and strongly grieve their passing. Research has also shown that humans can benefit significantly from their relationships with non-human animals. For example, studies have indicated that even the mere observation of animals can result in reduced physiological respondings to stressors, and in increased positive mood. In the present review, we propose that findings such as these may provide important information regarding strategies, particularly for children. Of specific relevance for children is their fascination with, and attraction to, non-human animals. There is also the very non-judgemental nature of human-animal interactions (i.e., unconditional positive regard) that has been argued, among other benefits, to serve as a useful "bridge" for the establishment of raport between therapist and child. However, despite promising avenues of investigation, the area of animal assisted intervention remains largely neglected by researchers. In this paper, we call for sound emperical investigation into proposals regarding the potential therapeutic benefits of incorporating non-animals into intervention programs.
THE VALUE OF A DOG IN A CLASSROOM OF CHILDREN WITH SEVERE EMOTIONAL DISORDERS
Katherine L. Anderson. Myrna R. Olson
Minnesota State University, University of North Dakota
The purpose of the present study was to determine how a dog's presence in a self-contained classroom of six children diagnosed with severe emotional disorders affected students' emotional stability and their learning. Across an eight-week period of time, the children were observed, the children and their parents were interviewed, and behavioral data were recorded when students went into emotional crisis. Qualitative analysis of all coded data indicated that the dog's placement in this self-contained classroom: a) contributed to students' overall emotional stability evidenced by prevention and de-escalation of episodes of emotional crisis; b) improved students' attitudes toward school; and c) facilitated students' learning lessons in responsibility, respect and empathy.