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Human-animal interaction as a context for promoting youth contribution

Megan K. Mueller, Tufts University; Kristina Schmid Callina, Tufts University

Poster presentation on Saturday, December 10, 2016

Poster Presentations sponsored by Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life
42nd Association for Moral Education Annual Conference, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA

Research shows that human-animal interaction (HAI) is associated with indicators of positive youth development, such as the “Five Cs”, as well as prosocial attitudes and behaviors, including the “Sixth C” of Contribution. One prevalent HAI context is volunteering. Accordingly, we investigated differences in volunteering outcomes for animal-related versus other types of volunteer activities. Using data from two studies – the PET Study and 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development – we found a significant difference in Contribution among youth who volunteered with animals compared with those who engaged in other types of volunteer activities.

Dr. Mueller teaches the Human-Animal Interaction course in the MS in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program in addition to other classes including Research Methods and mentoring student projects and externships.