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Author: Sue-Ellen Brown

Abstract

Self psychology provides a theoretical framework for understanding the psychology of the animal hoarder. The following ideas from self psychology can be applied to animal hoarders and their animals to gain insight into the nature of the bond between them: 1) animals can serve a crucial selfobject function, such as cohesion, for hoarders, regardless of the actual, objective reality of the state of the animals; 2) the concept of archaic vs. mature selfobject functioning elucidates how hoarders are stuck in self-centered, archaic forms of relating with little empathic capacity; 3) the merger selfobject relationship allows hoarders to see animals as being one with them; and 4) disavowal and the vertical split explain how hoarders can live with animal suffering and be apparently oblivious to it. Similarities between self psychology and attachment theory are discussed.

In: Society & Animals
Author: Sue-Ellen Brown

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to document the alleged underrepresentation of African Americans employed in U.S. nonhuman animal welfare organizations. A telephone survey of 32 animal welfare organizations yielded responses from 13 with 1,584 employees. Almost all organizations were reluctant to respond. Of the 13 organizations responding, 62% (N = 8) had no African American employees. African Americans made up 4% (N = 63) of the total number of employees with only 0.8% (N = 12) at the top levels (officials, managers, and professionals). African Americans never made up more than 7% of the employees in their respective organization. This paper discusses a model of, and resources for, successful diversity building in nonprofit organizations.

In: Society & Animals
Author: Sue-Ellen Brown

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and define self psychology and its concepts (self and selfobject) so that they can be applied toward a new understanding of the human-nonhuman animal bond. The paper utilizes selected literature from both self psychology and the human-animal bond fields. The paper contains four primary conclusions: 1. Self psychology provides a unique model for understanding the depth and meaning of human-animal relationships; 2. Companion animals and humans can be equally important in their selfobject roles; 3. Self psychology can offer a model for understanding individual differences in attachment to companion animals; and 4. A future direction includes finding ways to assess self psychology constructs in order to measure the depth and function of the selfobject relationship.

In: Society & Animals
Author: Sue-Ellen Brown

Abstract

This study explores ethnic variations in animal companion ("pet") attachment among 133 students enrolled in a school of veterinary medicine. The 57 White and 76 African American participants completed surveys that included background information, several questions about their animal companions, and a pet attachment questionnaire (PAQ).White students had significantly higher PAQ scores than did African American students (p<.001). White students also had significantly more pets (M =4.05 vs. 2.18, p<.001) and more kinds of pets (M =2.30 vs. 1.57, p<.001) and were more likely to allow pets to sleep on their beds (70% vs. 53%, p<.05). Although keeping pets is a universal cultural phenomenon, how that attachment is expressed may vary from culture-to-culture. This study explores possible explanations and implications for these variations.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

This study replicated the co-existence of dissociation and pet attachment in 113 female veterinary technician students based on a bivariate correlation analysis and chi-square analysis of their responses to the 28-question Dissociative Experiences Scale and an eight-question "pet" attachment questionnaire.The study replicated the positive correlation between pet attachment and dissociation first reported by Brown & Katcher (1997). Also replicated was the finding that significantly more with the highest pet attachment had clinical levels of dissociation than did those with lower attachment. Results compared to a meta-analytic study found their level of dissociation to be higher than participants in non-animalrelated categories.This study suggests that dissociation may characterize one subset of people highly attached to pets and discusses implications for companion animal research and individuals in animal-related careers.

In: Society & Animals