Evaluating Educational Training Impact on Pre-service Students’ Attitudes towards Human-Animal Relationships

Yuleinys A Castillo, Denise Silcox, Lynn Fischer

Abstract


Experts suggest that human-animal relationships can bring benefits to households, work environments, and training facilities. Animals can also have a positive impact on humans’ psychological well-being, interpersonal relationships, and interaction with human services providers. Even though human services providers need to understand clients’ holistic experiences, animals are often excluded from treatment and services. Therefore, human services students, who have exposure to the human animal bond, can be more effective providers and understand the role of animals in society. This study evaluated the impact of information about the human-animal bond on attitudes towards animals among pre-service human services students. In addition, the educational background of participants was considered to identify differences in attitudes towards animals. Factor analyses of the attitudes measure revealed three factors – positive and negative attitudes towards animals and law related items. Since exposure to material, by reading or lectures, was found to influence attitudes of human services majors, information about human-animal relationships should be incorporated in higher education and professional development programs. Subsequent major-specific analyses indicated favorable attitudes associated with human services majors (rehabilitative services and social work). Implications for educators and higher education programs to incorporate material on animal welfare, animal assisted interventions, and animal-human relationships, and professionals are discussed.


Keywords


human services, education, human-animal bond, attitudes, animals

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References

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