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Critical Examination Kirsten Marquis Psychology 111 TA Jordan Rands

Introduction I examined an article found in Psychology Today about animal hoarding. As I studied the research behind this article, I discovered how much important information was left out. The research contained many details and explanations, but the article only skimmed the surface of the evidence found by the researchers. The Popular Claim In the article Heavy Petting by Mark Griffiths found in Psychology Today, Griffith claims that researchers have found that animal hoarding is a special manifestation of compulsive hoarding. He says researchers have found that there is correlation between the hoarding of objects and the hoarding of animals that compulsive hoarding might lead to animal hoarding, or that a more conventional hoarding is a common precursor of animal hoarding. The Research Article The majority of the research used in the Psychology Today article comes from the Clinical Psychology Review A Theoretical Perspective to Inform Assessment and Treatment Strategies for Animal Hoarders by Gary J. Patronek and Jane N. Nathanson (See Attached Cover Page). However as I did more research, I learned that the data used by Patronek and Nathanson came from a study done in 2002 called the Health Implications of Animal Hoarding, or HARC. For this reason I also attached the cover page and abstract of this research as I studied both to analyze the article in Heavy Petting. Research Hypothesis A hypothesis made by Griffith in Psychology Today is that there are few differences between object hoarding and animal hoarding. Because theyre both forms of hoarding, those guilty of animal hoarding and object hoarding might have the same psychological issues. He brushes over small phrases such as There is also some research that suggests that animal hoarding follows conventional hoarding, and then gives little or no data to back up such claims. This hypothesis is weak compared to that in the research article in Clinical Psychology Review. In fact, the researchers hypothesis is almost opposite. The researchers state that animal hoarding might not be directly linked to object hoarding. They say that there are other psychological issues more closely related to animal hoarding than object hoarding such as squalor, loneliness, and other mental issues. The main weakness of the hypothesis made in Psychology Today is the failure to acknowledge the differences between animal hoarding and non-animal hoarding. Participant Sample In the article, it states that many specific cases of animal hoarding were inspected and then gives statistics of the inspections. While the article says multiple cases were examined, the research conducted by HARC was based on a sample of volunteers. The sample included many people who might encounter animal hoarding such as police officers, animal control officers, members of health departments, and people who might attend events like national veterinarian meetings. In the end, a total of 71 professionals who had been exposed to animal hoarding (in family members, friends, or even strangers) were used in the research sample.

The article and the research are similar in that they dont define a specific demographic of the sample (age, gender, etc. of the participants). They differ in that the research article states that the sample was taken from volunteers exposed to animal hoarding while the article states that specific cases of animal hoarding were examined. The article is inaccurate because in the research, volunteers of those who know animal hoarders made up the sample, not the animal hoarders themselves. Procedure and Instruments As previously mentioned, the article implies inspections of known animal hoarding cases. It does not give any specific details of how these examinations were carried out, only statistical findings. On the other hand, the research gave a very thorough explanation of the methods to collect data. Questionnaires were given to the volunteer sample. These questionnaires included evaluations of items such as which rooms in the home contained clutter and to rate the level of the amount of clutter, indications of which activities (such as preparing food) were impaired and to what extent, and also the conditions of major appliances in the house. To conclude the research, the 71 professionals in the sample were interviewed for a narrative account of each case. The data collected by HARC was strictly obtained through these questionnaires and interviews there was no examining of actual cases. The article differs from this as it never mentions the use of a volunteer sample or a questionnaire. The implication of examinations in the article shines an inaccurate light for the readers as it makes it seem that specific cases were only reported, not actually examined. For this reason, the article inaccurately describes the procedures of the research. Analyses In the research, there is a section devoted to the differences between animal and non-animal hoarding. Included in this section is the definition of compulsive hoarding, which includes descriptions such as useless and limited value to describe the hoarded items. These descriptions can easily be applied to inanimate objects, but are not particularly relevant when defining animal hoarding. In the case of animal hoarding, the researchers claim that these affects are often much stronger in animal hoarding. The research analyzes that animal hoarding is more complex than object hoarding. One similarity between the research and the article is that they both explain the prevalence of animal cruelty in animal hoarding. However, the similarities end there. The articles analyses fails to mention the other key differences between animal and non-animal hoarding that were included in the research, such as the depth of the relationship the hoarder creates with his animals. Results and Conclusions Patronek and Nathanson conclude in the research that object hoarding is not a cause of animal hoarding. They say that while object hoarding and animal hoarding might correlate, animal hoarding is often more extreme because of the contact between the human and the living creatures. They are different issues with different causes and effects. The main difference between the conclusion of the research and the conclusion in the article is the depth to which to researchers explain their data. The article simply brushes over phrases without giving any details. In the end, the article falsely places animal and object hoarding in the same category of psychological distress without acknowledging the differences between animal and non-animal hoarding.

Journal - Clinical Psychology Review A theoretical perspective to inform assessment and treatment strategies for animal hoarders Gary J. Patronek and Jane N. Nathanson Abstract: Animal hoarding is a poorly understood, maladaptive, destructive behavior whose etiology and pathology are only beginning to emerge. We compare and contrast animal hoarding to the compulsive hoarding of objects and proceed to draw upon attachment theory, the literature of personality disorder and trauma, and our own clinical experience to propose a developmental trajectory. Throughout life, there is a persistent struggle to form a functional attachment style and achieve positive social integration. For some people, particularly those affected by a dysfunctional primary attachment experience in childhood, a protective, comforting relationship with animals may form an indelible imprint. In adulthood, when human attachment has been chronically problematic, compulsive caregiving of animals can become the primary means of maintaining or building a sense of self. Improving assessment and treatment of animal hoarders requires attention to contributing psychosocial conditions, while taking into account the centrality of the animals to the hoarder's identity, self-esteem and sense of control. It is our hope that the information presented will provide a basis upon which clinicians can focus their own counseling style, assessment, and methods of treatment.

Study Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC) Health Implications of Animal Hoarding (2002) Abstract: Animal hoarding is a poorly understood phenomenon, the public health implications of which are not well documented. In this study, professionals dealing with hoarding cases submitted 71 case report forms. The hoarders residences were characterized by extreme clutter and poor sanitation that impaired ability to maintain functional households. Appliances and utilites were frequently nonfunctional, and animal excrement sometimes accumulated to the extent that the homes were unfit for human habitation. The majority of cases satistfied criteriea for adult self-neglect, and dependent elderly people, children, or disabled individuals were present in many of the residences. Animal hoarding may be a sentinel for a range of medical, social, and economic problems. More research addressing the causes and features of animal hoarding is needed to shed light on appropriate interventions.