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Survey suggests furries 'think differently', but aren't crazy

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Recently published survey results suggest there is "little relationship between furries and clinical diagnoses of psychological dysfunction". However, those identifying more strongly as furries tended to report "particularly active, vivid and magical mental worlds", and furries (at ~4%) were "at least 2.25 times more likely to have Asperger's Syndrome" than the general population, even after controlling for different sex ratios.

Being furry was not associated with anxiety disorders or medical conditions; indeed, it was "marginally associated with psychological and relationship well-being" (B=.062-3, p=.083-.079). Furries identifying as therians did not differ from non-therian furries on measurements of most psychological conditions, well-being or health, but differed in several cognitive factors, and were more likely to have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (B=.099, p=.008).

The survey was conducted at Anthrocon 2013 by the Anthropomorphic Research Project. Researchers gave 820 adult participants questions that "assessed symptoms frequently associated with clinical lycanthropy, as well as numerous scales which assessed various indicators of physical and psychological well-being", with the goal of "understanding why the furry fandom is so frequently associated with dysfunction in popular culture and lay theory".

Strength of association with furry identity had a clear but small relationship to Asperger's (B=.083, p=.023); it may also have a slight relationship to ADHD (B=.062, p=.090), but overall levels for furries were not unusual. Conversely, strong identification as a furry meant slightly less chance of a diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder (B=-.091, p=.013); 16.1% reported such disorders, compared to 17% in the general population.


Do you know furries who 'think different'?

The more a participant identified as furry, the more they were likely to possess magical beliefs and ideation (B=.139, p<.001), and to report heightened senses, cognitive abilities, emotions, understanding, or feelings of significance in the world and surrounding events (B=.182, p<.001).

Those identifying more strongly as furries were also more likely to report vivid thoughts or mental images (B=.169, p<.001) or to have experienced hallucinations (B=.157, p<.001). However, the extent of furry identification had no relation to therianthropic shifting. 37.3% of furs reported having ever used psychotropic medication, a level believed normal by the ARP.

Furry therians (8% of sample) were more likely to report shifts in mental state than non-therian furs, as well as magical thinking; vivid mental events; strong feelings of significance, perceptions of understanding, or heightened senses and emotions (all p<.001); and hallucinations (p=.001). They had a less clear concept of identity than other furries (p=.008), but were not more likely to have a diagnosis of ADHD, mood disorders, or Asperger's, nor to have been on psychotropics.

Past results on: Furry pornography use, fantasy engagement and politics; the prevalence/acceptance of bronies; fursonas, therians, non-furs and artists; furry gender, sexuality, and comparisons to therians and otherkin; and empathy, social desirability, furry identity and orientation.

Comments

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Like I told the non-furry who dropped in to say "you all need therapy"
Furry IS the therapy. Ha.

There was a good article I saw going around, about a study that found fetishes are associated with better mental health and happiness.

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I'm think there was a typo there, I think you meant to say "Hobbies are associated with better mental health."

lol.

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He's probably talking about this study (LiveScience summary). Apparently it's better to be dominant than submissive; but you know what they say, the best tops start at the bottom — and all BDSM groups did better than the control.

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Yes :) That was it.

News seems slow on here at the moment. Is it time for a juicy drama thread? Let me get my megaphone... OMG furry might be a fetish sometimes! OMG!!!

I don't really get spanking and gimp suits, but gimps don't give me any trouble about fursuiting at their events and we're all happy. :)

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Well, they wouldn't, would they?

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I guess it's hard to complain when you're wearing a ball gag :p

But back to the topic I suspect the Asperger's info may not have any clear meaning beyond, you have a bunch of nerdy, bright and introverted males. There is a debate that asperger's may not have any scientifically valid definition, just a loose label that may apply to half the population, being misapplied as a catch all for things that are not disorders. Their sample is probably very american and there is some huge discrepancy between rate of diagnosis here and europe where it is far lower.

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I remember once thinking that I might have Clinical Lycanthropy when I first read about it somewhere, with persistent thoughts of change and that I was a Dog instead. The article was all about people thinking they were animals and acting like them, and being in asylums, idolizing the moon and wolf lore, and one guy who had boanthropy, being like a grazing animal, down on his hands and knees, eating grass on the grounds of the institution.

I realized it probably didn't apply to me, since all of the incidents seemed to be from a century ago, so it didn't seem like there was any lycanthropy today. I didn't know about Cynanthropy at the time though, for domestic Dogs, that might have changed things.. :)

I read that a long time ago, and thinking back, it was probably a book review, and it would be interesting to find that book now.

Boomer

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If that's what boanthropy means, what's the word for a were-snake?

Sssss, I'm a snake! Watch me slither around without arms and legs! Feed me mice!

(If you like animals, enjoy this beautiful snake photo. :)

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Man, this was delayed. We've been around for a while now, and they're just now finding out that we're not crazy?

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About the author

GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a software developer and Norn from London, UK, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.