Class Year

2016

Date

4-25-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Distinguished Thesis

Yes

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program

Psychology

First Advisor

Kathryn Dohrmann

Second Advisor

Susan M. Long

Third Advisor

Carla Arnell

Abstract

Therianthropy is the phenomenon in which a person identifies in varying degrees as a nonhuman animal. The goal of this research was to investigate therianthropic identities through the lens of Dan McAdams’s life story model of identity, which posits that individuals engage in a dynamic process of narrative identity construction throughout their lives. Self-identified therianthropes were interviewed with an adaptation of McAdams’s Life Story Interview. These interviews were analyzed using grounded theory methodology in order to determine common themes among the life stories of therianthropes and to elucidate how these common experiences contribute to the development and maintenance of a nonhuman identity. Common themes included species dysphoria, social obstacles, animal experiences, and a connection to nature. Therians’ conceptualizations of therianthropy, a trajectory of therian identity, and attributions to therianthropy were also analyzed.


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