In the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017 students from five human-animal studies classes at two universities in the U.S. (University of Oregon and Redlands University) and two universities in Europe (University College Dublin and University of Innsbruck) completed the Animal Attitude Scale (Herzog, Betchart & Pittman, 1991), a 20-item questionnaire designed to measure pro-animal welfare attitudes. Respondents rated each of 20 statements on a five-point Likert scale, indicating the extent to which they agreed with each statement regarding attitudes toward animals. Items are scored such that higher scores indicate more favorable attitudes toward animals. The AAS has excellent psychometric properties, including Cronbach’s alphas ranging from 0.85 to 0.95 and well-established concurrent and convergent validity. Thanks to Debra Merskin, Gabriela Kompatscher, Kathie Jenni, and Seán L’Estrange for participating in this first round!
In order to assess the extent to which completion of a human-animal studies course affected attitudes toward animals, students completed the AAS prior to and immediately following course completion. A paired-samples t-test was conducted on the sample of 77 students from the five human-animal studies classes who completed the questionnaire at the two time points. There was a statistically significant difference in AAS scores prior to the HAS course (M=80.07, SD=10.08) and following completion of the HAS course (M=84.48, SD=10.39); t(76)=-4.100, p = .000. These results suggest that human-animal studies classes positively affect students’ attitudes toward animals. In other words, students who complete such classes report more pro animal welfare attitudes after completing the class than prior to it.
We would love to have more professors give the survey to their students! Professors are asked to give out the following links to their students; the first should be given out at the very beginning of the course, while the second link should be given out at the end of the course.
We thank you for your help with this exciting project!