Gender Differences in Human–Animal Interactions: A Review

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I review the direction and magnitude (effect sizes) of gender differences that have been reported in several areas of human–animal interactions. These include: attitudes toward the treatment of animals, attachment to pets, involvement in animal protectionism, animal hoarding, hunting, animal abuse, and bestiality. Women, on average, show higher levels of positive behaviors and attitudes toward animals (e.g., attitudes towards their use, involvement in animal protection), whereas men typically have higher levels of negative attitudes and behaviors (e.g., hunting, animal abuse, less favorable attitudes toward animal protection). The effect sizes of gender differences range from small (e.g., attachment), to medium size (e.g., attitudes toward animal use) to large (e.g., animal rights activism, animal abuse by adults.) In most areas, there is considerable overlap between men and women, with much greater within-sex than between-sex variation. Research on the roles of gender in human–animal relationships is hindered by the omission in many reports of gender difference effect sizes and basic descriptive statistics.


Document Type: Review Article


Publication date: March 1, 2007

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