Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dominick Pellegreno


The purpose of this study was to investigate adults who were abused as children and the mediative impact of human and animal supportive relationships on the self-esteem, nurturant behavior, and anger/aggression of the abused child as both a child and an adult;One hundred and one adult subjects completed the inventory. The inventory was a compilation of specifically designed questions by the researcher including continuum rating scales of the subject's perception of his/her childhood levels of self-esteem, nurturant behavior, and anger; and assessment instruments for self-esteem, nurturant behavior, and anger as an adult. In addition, questions concerning demographic data and an optional, qualitative question were asked;The t-test or the Mann-Whitney-U test was used to analyze the 108 incidents involving the two assessments of the animal-bond (The Human-Animal Bond Scale1 and the Family Life Space Diagram2) and the assessments of self-esteem, nurturant behavior, and anger level as a child and an adult. There were 12 significant incidents found in the areas of self-esteem (non-abused subjects as adults who had a strong human-human bond had higher self-esteem); and nurturant behavior (non-abused subjects who had a strong human-animal and both a human-human and a human-animal bond and all subjects, subjects not abused as children, and subjects abused as children who had a strong human-animal bond reported more nurturant behaviors). The childhood anger level for children who were abused was significant, lower anger levels were reported for children with a strong human-animal bond. Chi square analysis supported existing research showing that abused children have a continued history of abusing or being abused throughout their lives. The exception occurs with adults abused as children with a strong human-animal bond did not report abusing animals or children as an adult. The qualitative information supported the premise that relationships with animals were very important to some of the abused subjects when they were children. The animals were viewed as supportive, as a tool used by the abuser, as a threat to the abused child, and as part of the healing process. Sometimes these views overlapped;ftn1Poresky, R. H., Hendrix, C., Mosier, J. E., & Samuelson, M. L. (1987) Companion Animal Bonding Scale: Internal reliability and construct validity. Psychological Reports, 60, 743-746. 2Barker, S. B., & Barker, R. T. (1990). Investigation of the construct validity of the Family Life Space Diagram. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 12, 506-514.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Linda Jean Nebbe



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

140 pages