Title of Abstract

Perceptions of ESAs on College Campuses

Faculty Mentor

Matthew Hayes, Ph.D.; hayesm@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Abstract

In recent years, the importance of having an animal has expanded beyond people’s desire for companionship to now being an important aid for those requiring life assistance and those experiencing mental health issues. Under the Fair Housing Act, college students can apply for accommodations to bring an animal onto campus. These animals fall into one of two categories- service animals or emotional support animals (ESA). Researchers have documented the value of service animals; however, perceptions of emotional support animals on college campuses has not been widely studied. We examined this issue, hypothesizing that students would have more positive attitudes toward ESA than would faculty. College students and faculty responded to items to assess their understanding of and opinions about ESA, service animals, and pets. The data suggested that faculty and students have similar and mildly positive views of ESA and pets. The results also suggest students have less experiences with ESAs. This could be because faculty are informed of any accommodations prior to classes starting, which gives them information as to the category an animal falls under, and why an animal is needed- this is information students do not have access to.

Additional Fields About Your Abstract

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Course Assignment

PSYC 302- Hayes

Other Presentations/Performances

Southeastern Psychological Association, Virtual, March 2021

Type of Presentation

Poster presentation

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Perceptions of ESAs on College Campuses

In recent years, the importance of having an animal has expanded beyond people’s desire for companionship to now being an important aid for those requiring life assistance and those experiencing mental health issues. Under the Fair Housing Act, college students can apply for accommodations to bring an animal onto campus. These animals fall into one of two categories- service animals or emotional support animals (ESA). Researchers have documented the value of service animals; however, perceptions of emotional support animals on college campuses has not been widely studied. We examined this issue, hypothesizing that students would have more positive attitudes toward ESA than would faculty. College students and faculty responded to items to assess their understanding of and opinions about ESA, service animals, and pets. The data suggested that faculty and students have similar and mildly positive views of ESA and pets. The results also suggest students have less experiences with ESAs. This could be because faculty are informed of any accommodations prior to classes starting, which gives them information as to the category an animal falls under, and why an animal is needed- this is information students do not have access to.