School of Health in Social Science

Children, adolescents & animals research

Children, adolescents and animals research or caar, is a group of researchers, graduates and doctoral students led by Professor Jo Williams and supported by Dr Janine Muldoon. We explore all aspects of relationships between children, adolescents and animals, and work closely with the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Our mission:

To produce high-quality research that furthers understanding of child-animal interactions in order to promote reciprocally positive relationships that enhance child wellbeing and animal welfare.

We explore all aspects of interactions between children, adolescents and animals, including:

  • psychological predictors of child and adolescent animal cruelty

  • development and evaluation of animal welfare education and cruelty prevention interventions for children and young people

  • Animal-assisted interventions for children and young people (health and learning)

  • The impact of pets, including attachment to pets, on children’s mental health and development

  • The impact of the natural environment on child and adolescent health and wellbeing

We work closely with a range of animal welfare organisations, including:

  • The Scottish SPCA

  • Fostering Compassion

  • The Dogs Trust

  • The Link Group


  • Canine Concern Scotland (Therapets)

  • Strength and Learning through Horses

  • Paws for Progress

If you are interested in working with us please get in contact. We are always happy to discuss research ideas and to help where we can.


Book your place on our up and coming events:

Flyer for our first workshop in 2019 on children's relationships with different types of companion animal (dog and cat in snow)

Building on the success of our ESRC workshops, caar is organising two reflective workshops for practitioners/policy makers involved in child and/or animal welfare. They will be an opportunity to hear about key findings and share thoughts and experiences.


Latest news

Photograph of girl lying on the grass with a puppy
This page highlights caar news & info about forthcoming activities.

Events: conferences, workshops & seminars

Flyer for our second workshop in 2019 on new advances in animal cruelty prevention (photo of girl with cat that looks unhappy)
Get involved by booking our latest events.

Research projects

This page provides information on all of our current and recent projects and links to all associated materials and publications. Our research themes include Animal Welfare Education, Children's Relationships with Animals and Animal Assisted Intervention.


Child sitting on sofa with dog
This page is designed specifically for professionals working with children and/or animals. It provides links to our practitioner briefing papers and resources and highlights events we are running that you may find useful.


Meet the caar team and find out about the Child-Animal Interaction Research Network: CAIRN.

Connect with us

We are keen to hear from you. If you are interested in our work, or have any questions, please get in touch via the routes outlined on this page.