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Social Work Practitioners and the Human--Companion Animal Bond: A National Study (Report)

Social Work 2010, Jan, 55, 1

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A growing body of research supports the powerful relationships between humans and companion and other animals: both positive and negative. Companion animals may assist children and adults in feeling a sense of security and unconditional love (Risley-Curtiss, Holley, Cruickshank, et al., 2006), contribute to a child's cognitive and language development (Melson, 2001), and contribute to an elderly person's ability to carry out daffy activities (Raina, Waltner-Toews, Bonnett, Woodward, & Abernathy, 1999). Service animals enhance independence and quality of life for children and adults who have ambulatory and other kinds of challenges (Duncan & Allen, 2000). Companion animals, however, are also victims of human cruelty, and there is growing evidence of a link between animal cruelty, child maltreatment, domestic violence, and increased criminality (Ascione, 2005). Evidence of the powerful relationships between humans and companion animals, as well as the fact that the majority of people with such animals consider them to be part of their family, supports the premise that the social work profession should be informed about these relationships and skilled in including companion animals in their practice. A review of the social work literature, including major textbooks, and experience in social work education and practice indicates that companion animals have not traditionally been included as significant others in clients' environments. Recent related research further suggests that integration of companion animals into current social work may not be happening. A study of cross-reporting between child welfare workers and humane society workers found that a number of child welfare workers thought cross-reporting was unimportant, were resistant to including animal welfare in their assessments, and underreported concern for animal well-being (Zilney & Zilney, 2005). Risley-Curtiss (2004) found that only seven out of 230 schools of social work that responded to a survey included much content on the human-companion animal bond (HCAB) in their courses and that what was offered was mostly about animal-assisted therapy. Finally, Ascione (2005) asserted that "developmental psychology and related disciplines have virtually ignored the positive role that pets and other animals may play in the lives of children" (p. 5). Social work is one such related discipline. The purpose of this study is to examine what social work practitioners know about the HCAB and whether they are including such relationships in their practice.

Social Work Practitioners and the Human--Companion Animal Bond: A National Study (Report)
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  • 2,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: 01 January 2010
  • Publisher: National Association of Social Workers
  • Print Length: 25 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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