Factors affecting social workers' inclusion of animals in practice

Christina Risley-Curtiss, Mary E. Rogge, Elisa Kawam

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Scopus citations


    Experts suggest that social work practitioners can improve their client service with a more thorough understanding of the impact of other animals on individuals and families. Studies indicate that some social work practitioners are including animals in their practices through assessment and interventions. Little is known about what factors contribute to this inclusion, especially because there is a lack of attention in social work education and research to animal-human relationships. This study used logistical regression to examine the impact of certain demographic, knowledge, and practice variables on the inclusion of animals in social work practice. Findings include that knowing other social workers who include animals in practice and primary client population served were significant for inclusion of animals in assessment, animal-assisted intervention, and treating clients for animal abuse or loss of an animal. Although practitioners' having a companion animal was positively related to including animals in interventions and treating clients for loss of an animal, contributing to animal welfare through volunteering at shelters or financially contributing to animal groups did not have an effect on inclusion of animals in practice. Implications for these and other findings are discussed, and recommendations for social work research, education, and practice are offered.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)153-161
    Number of pages9
    JournalSocial Work (United States)
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 2013


    • human-animal bond
    • human-animal relationships
    • social work practice

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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