We are so pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 Undergraduate Paper Prize in Human-Animal Studies: Jade Ford! Jade’s paper is titled “Man’s Best Friend … and Sometimes Target: How Negative Interpersonal Relations are Related to Animal Abuse Proclivity,” and will be published in an upcoming issue of Society & Animals.
Jade is a psychology student at Keynes College, University of Kent, and she first found her passion for non-human animal research when she decided to focus her undergraduate dissertation on animal abuse offences. Jade enjoyed this field of research so much that she is currently working as a research assistant for her University where she is writing up two new papers on animal abuse. Following this, she hopes to study for her forensic psychology Masters in the near future with the hope of starting a career within counselling.
The abstract of Jade’s paper is as follows:
Research regarding the psychological correlates of animal abuse is an emerging area of research which is warranted by its high prevalence. The few studies which have examined the factors related to animal abuse have typically used incarcerated samples and found that those who commit such offences commonly come from dysfunctional family environment and experience high levels of anxiety. But no study has yet examined how attachment styles (bi-products of maladaptive childhoods), social anxiety, and animal abuse proclivity are inter-related. As such, this study employed a correlational design to assess the association between attachment styles and social anxiety as indicators of different forms of animal abuse proclivity within a general adult sample. It was found that an anxious attachment style significantly correlated with direct proclivity (i.e., the animal as the perceived provocateur); whilst the relationship between social anxiety and indirect animal abuse proclivity (i.e., the animal as the outlet for aggression) was mediated by avoidant attachment. These findings emphasise the importance of exploring how interpersonal relationships influence a person’s relationship with animals; which is relevant to the treatment and assessment of animal abusers.