Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: What role, if any, can companion animals play in recovery from serious mental health difficulties?
Author: Ford, Vicki
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 6861
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
There is widespread, popular belief that contact with companion animals can be beneficial for people across the lifespan. However, a review of the evidence-base reveals that this is not as straightforward as might be expected; with over four decades of human-animal interaction research reporting mixed findings regarding benefits of pet ownership. Whilst it has been hypothesised that pets may be of particular benefit for people who experience social exclusion and therefore isolation; there is a notable lack of research exploring the role of companion animal ownership in people with experience of mental health difficulties. Furthermore, the concept of recovery from mental health difficulties has been redefined; with an emphasis on personal recovery as a means of living a fulfilling life alongside any mental health challenges. Accordingly, a qualitative grounded theory methodology was used to explore what role, if any, companion animals can play in their owners' recovery from mental health difficulties. Semi-structured interviews with ten service users, all of whom currently owned pets and were recruited through mental health charity support groups, were used to generate a theory of the influence companion animals can have on recovery. A triangular interaction between three core concepts constructed from the data: responsibility, reciprocity and relating, together with two overarching categories: recovery and identity, offered an explanation as to how companion animals can influence recovery. These findings are discussed in the context of current literature, clinical implications for mental health service providers, in particular the need to acknowledge the potential importance and complexity of human-animal relationships, and lastly future research directions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available