The Role of Human-Animal Interaction in Promoting Positive Youth Development: Toward Theory-Based Measurement and Application.
Abstract: Human-animal relationships are both ubiquitous and diverse across
the life span, and may be especially salient among children and adolescents. However, there
is little theory-predicated research documenting the role of human-animal interaction (HAI)
in promoting young people's positive development, a lack of measures of HAI derived from
such research, and an absence of evidence-based ... read moreprograms associated with such scholarship.
Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation is to begin to fill these gaps by refining a
theory-based measure that explores emotions and cognitions about attachment, commitment,
and moral orientation toward animals and, in turn, provides exploratory information about
the possible correlates between HAI experiences and positive youth development. Data are
derived from a pilot investigation, the Correlates of Positive Youth Development (C-PYD)
Study, and from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development. These data are used to examine
structural features of HAI experiences, the potential association between residential
context and HAI, and developmental correlates associated with HAI in late adolescence. The
implications of these studies will be discussed, and suggestions for new areas of inquiry
about the role of HAI as an important developmental context will be
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: Richard Lerner.
Committee: Tama Leventhal, Nicholas Frank, and Jacqueline Lerner.
Keyword: Developmental psychology.read less