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Archetyping relationships with companion animals to understand disaster risk-taking propensity


Pets factor into the daily decision-making of many people. Importantly, various characteristics of these human–animal relationships are known to strongly influence pet owners’ risk behaviour and, consequently, their animals’ welfare during disasters. Yet, few studies have examined a range of such characteristics concurrently in order to describe risk propensity differences in these relationships. In this study, 437 Australian companion-animal (pet) owners reported human–animal relational, personality and attitudinal characteristics, to examine differences in stated tendency to act to secure their pet’s welfare whilst risking potential harm in a hypothetical disaster dilemma. Cluster analysis identified five archetypal profiles differing in relational, personality, attitude and risk-propensity characteristics, as well as in stated willingness to risk personal safety for the well-being of a pet. Results suggest that relational archetypes are an effective means of examining pet–owner risk propensity, to better understand owners’ risk-taking to protect their animals from harm during a disaster.

Keywords: Disasters, pets, companion animals, risk perception, risk taking


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