Exposure of preschool children to companion animals : impact on role-taking skills Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9306t3399

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  • The importance of role-taking skills in the social development of children has been well documented. Further, it has been shown that children's development of role-taking skills is dependent upon the quantity and quality of social interactions which require the consideration of alternative perspectives. Given recent evidence of the importance of child/pet interactions, the present study is an attempt to determine the impact of structured interactions with a puppy on the development of role-taking skills. A sample of 47 preschool children from a university-based child development laboratory was randomly assigned for five and one-half weeks to one of three experimental conditions: a) exposure to a structured curriculum about animals and pet care, including "hands-on" experience with a puppy, b) exposure to a structured curriculum about animals and pet care, without exposure to a puppy, and c) a control group who were assigned to activities unrelated to the curriculum about animals and pet care. Three separate instruments assessing affective, cognitive and perceptual role-taking abilities were administered to the children as a pretest, posttest, and post/posttest. The results indicated that the group which incorporated the use of a puppy into its curriculum significantly improved and maintained their higher scores on the affective role-taking task. Their improvement was significantly greater than that of the children in the curriculum group not using a puppy, and also greater than the control group's scores. This finding demonstrates that exposure to pets through a structured curriculum can increase empathy in children, and that this effect will last over time. Also found was that children who owned pets at home had no different role-taking abilities at the start of the study than those who did not own animals. These data show that training children about animals and exposing them to a pet for actual experience are valuable tools to develop and encourage empathic awareness.
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  • 1988
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-06-25T16:31:07Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 BaileyCindeeM1988.pdf: 835821 bytes, checksum: 99328ad6d03e1ea31cc9c33639ed7385 (MD5)
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