The Role of an Animal-Mascot in the Psychological Adjustment of Soldiers Exposed to Combat Stress


For many soldiers confronted with exposure to stressful situations, an animal-mascot bond is considered effective help for dealing with the stress. While most studies carried out on animals’ needs concentrate on the care of civilian individuals, our focus was on determining the reliability of an instrument to measure emotional, rational and psychosocial needs of the military engaged in numerous conflicts around the world, and to analyze its external validation. Methods: In an anonymous cross-sectional retrospective survey, we applied the animal-mascot bond questionnaire (AMBS) associated with Coping Inventory Stressful Scale (CISS), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Check List Scale (PCL-S) assessments to 168 soldiers after their deployment in theatre. Results: Factor analyses of the 23-item construct (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.962) pointed to a 3-factor solution, which revealed 77.03% of variance: 1) Animal-group bond, 2) Individual-animal emotional bond, and 3) Individual-animal rational bond. All these factors were positively correlated with the emotional-centred coping style. Human-animal bonds were greater for soldiers with the provisional diagnosis of PTSD. Limited responsibility was the strongest predictor for animalmascot bonds. Both individual animal bonds were also predicted by the PTSD status and emotional coping. Conclusions: The evaluation of the AMBS revealed that the instrument had good psychometric properties. Soldiers with less responsibility, PTSD and emotional-coping scored the highest on the AMBS suggesting that they expressed the highest needs for a bond with an animalmascot. One may assume that the animal-mascot bonds will trend to a therapeutic coping process for mitigating distress for soldiers.

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Trousselard, M. , Jean, A. , Beiger, F. , Marchandot, F. , Davoust, B. & Canini, F. (2014). The Role of an Animal-Mascot in the Psychological Adjustment of Soldiers Exposed to Combat Stress. Psychology, 5, 1821-1836. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.515188.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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