Shelby E. McDonald

Shelby E. McDonald
Virginia Commonwealth University | VCU · Department of Psychology

PhD, MSW
Faculty Affiliate, VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development | CFAR Group, LLC.

About

84
Publications
21,384
Reads
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1,092
Citations
Citations since 2016
72 Research Items
1037 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250300
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250300
Additional affiliations
June 2021 - present
ASPCA
Position
  • Managing Director
August 2015 - August 2021
Virginia Commonwealth University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • Assistant Professor 2015-2020 Associate Professor with tenure 2020-2021
August 2010 - May 2015
University of Denver
Position
  • NICHD/CCADV Collaboration Project Coordinator, GRA, & Adjunct Professor
Education
September 2011 - June 2015
University of Denver
Field of study
  • Social Work
September 2009 - June 2011
University of Denver
Field of study
  • Social Work--Leadership and Community Practice
August 2002 - May 2006

Publications

Publications (84)
Article
Full-text available
Objective Our study applied multidimensional item response theory (MIRT) to compare structural models of the parent-report version of the Inventory of Callous and Unemotional Traits (ICU; English and North American Spanish translations). Method A total of 291 maternal caregivers were recruited from community-based domestic violence services and r...
Article
The majority of analytic approaches aimed at understanding the influence of environmental context on children's socioemotional adjustment assume comparable effects of contextual risk and protective factors for all children. Using self-reported data from 289 maternal caregiver-child dyads, we examined the degree to which there are differential effec...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined profiles of adjustment in an ethnically diverse sample of 291 school-age children recruited from community-based domestic violence services. Using latent profile analysis (LPA), six domains of adjustment were examined: social problems, attention problems, internalizing behavior, externalizing behavior, empathy, and callous/unemo...
Article
Full-text available
Latina/o college students experience cultural stressors that negatively impact their mental health, which places them at risk for academic problems. We explored whether cultural values buffer the negative effect of cultural stressors on mental health symptoms in a sample of 198 Latina/o college students (70 % female; 43 % first generation college st...
Article
Full-text available
Cruelty toward companion animals is a well-documented, coercive tactic used by abusive partners to intimidate and control their intimate partners. Experiences of co-occurring violence are common for children living in families with intimate partner violence (IPV) and surveys show that more than half are also exposed to abuse of their pets. Given ch...
Article
Transgender and gender expansive emerging adults experience multiple forms of gender minority stress, which affect their mental health and wellbeing. Belongingness has been identified as a factor that fosters resilience among this population, with potential protective effects. Few studies have explored the role of thwarted belongingness and its pot...
Article
Full-text available
There is some evidence that family violence (intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, elder abuse) co-occurs with animal cruelty (i.e., threats to and/or actual harm of an animal), which is often referred to as “the link.” The aim of this scoping review was to systematically search the literature to determine the extent of empirical evidence...
Article
In the United States, about half of pregnancies are unintended, and most women of reproductive age are at risk of unintended pregnancy. Research has explored predictors of contraceptive use and unintended pregnancy, but there is a lack of research regarding access to preferred contraceptive method(s) and the complex pathways from sociodemographic f...
Article
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Grooming is an important aspect of basic hygiene care for most companion animals. The consequences of not receiving routine grooming care can pose significant risks to animals’ health and well-being. To develop and implement effective grooming service programs, it is important that animal welfare and veterinary professionals understand what factors...
Article
Objectives: To examine associations between sustained ownership of a pet and cognitive outcomes among a national sample of U.S. adults. Methods: Weighted linear mixed models were estimated using the Health and Retirement Study (2010-2016, n=1,369) to compare repeated measures of cognitive function between respondents who endorsed owning a pet in a...
Article
Full-text available
The goal of the current study was to identify ways to increase awareness and engagement in kitten fostering programs (KFPs) among residents of areas with a high intake of kittens to animal shelters in Southern California (i.e., Los Angeles County). Specifically, we aimed to understand residents’: 1) awareness of KFPs and kitten overpopulation issue...
Article
Exposure to microaggressions can have detrimental impacts on the mental health of LGBTQ+ emerging adults. Positive social relationships are a well-documented protective factor that help to buffer the impact of adversity on mental health in this population. However, the role of social relationships with pets has received minimal attention in researc...
Article
Full-text available
There has been increased research attention on the benefits associated with attachment bonds between humans and their companion animals, such as for human physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life. However, there is a lack of human-animal attachment measures that have been psychometrically evaluated across diverse samples. The cur...
Article
Full-text available
Grooming is an essential health maintenance activity that is fundamental to the welfare of many companion animals. Despite the potentially serious consequences of inadequate grooming for pets and their caregivers, few studies have examined the role of access to pet grooming services and supplies in promoting and maintaining companion animal health...
Article
Full-text available
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with poor mental health. Emerging research demonstrates the protective role of positive childhood experiences, including positive sense of self and relationships with both humans and animals, in mitigating the impacts of early life adversity on mental health outcomes. This study examined whether b...
Article
This study investigated thwarted belongingness as a moderator of the relationship between microaggressions and mental health among LGBTQ+ emerging adults. Using data collected from 186 LGBTQ+ emerging adults, we conducted separate moderation analyses to examine whether, and to what extent, the relation between microaggressions and mental health (i....
Article
Full-text available
There is a paucity of research exploring how relationships with household pets may impact maternal mental health. We are unaware of any study to date that has examined associations between individuals’ relationships with their pets and psychological adjustment in the perinatal period. Using a biobehavioral lens, this paper provides a narrative over...
Article
Full-text available
[In press in Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin (HAIB)]. Human-animal interaction (HAI) is associated with positive psychological adjustment. Although these benefits are hypothesized to be most pronounced for individuals who experience adversity and compromised social relationships, such as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and oth...
Article
Sexual and gender minority individuals (SGM) face barriers to accessing COVID-19 testing and treatment services. Living with pets may pose an additional barrier due to concerns about pet welfare. This study investigates whether the relation between SGM status and the likelihood of delaying or avoiding testing and treatment for COVID-19 varies as a...
Article
Full-text available
Love and strong social bonds are known buffers in the experience of adversity. Humans often form strong bonds with non-human animals. The human-animal bond refers to a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between humans and non-human animals. Previous research suggests that strong bonds with pets may promote resilience in the experience of...
Article
This qualitative study explores the benefits and risks associated with living with companion animals during the transition to adulthood among 117 sexual and gender minority (SGM) emerging adults living in the U.S. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using template analysis. Thematic analysis identified several risks (caregiver burden, pets as...
Article
Full-text available
Callous-Unemotional (CU) traits are characterized by limited empathy, lack of guilt, and callous use of others. The Inventory of Callous Unemotional Traits (ICU) is considered one of the most common measures of CU traits; however, psychometric properties of the ICU remain a topic of debate. The present study applied multidimensional item response t...
Article
Childhood exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with serious psychological outcomes including increased odds of developing callous/unemotional (CU) traits and behaviors. Recent studies suggest that concomitant exposure to animal cruelty (AC) may increase this risk. However, even under these circumstances, bonds with companion an...
Article
Human–animal interaction (HAI) research is growing in popularity and methodological rigor; however, there remains a need for psychometrically validated measures and inclusion of broader populations. This study addressed these gaps by reporting on the psychometric properties of the Comfort from Companion Animals Scale (CCAS) in a sample of sexual an...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: The social and behavioral health of older adults is of particular concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that at least 50% of older adults in the U.S. have pets; while pets may be a source of support, they could also pose unique challenges during an already trying time. We aimed to investigate how pets impacted the everyday...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined whether, and to what extent, attachment to pets was associated with changes in latent patterns of adults’ mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic (N = 1942) . We used latent transition analysis to determine the stability of subgroup membership pre- and post-COVID and the effect of attachment to pets on transition pro...
Chapter
Some form of Animal Cruelty (AC) has been considered to be a crime in the United States since the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. Currently there are varying forms of felony provisions in all 50 states against more “severe” acts of AC. In 2016, details about AC crimes were included in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) allowing law en...
Article
Objective: We aim to understand choices in hypothetical planning for child and pet care if an individual is faced with hospitalization for COVID-19. Background: As the COVID-19 public health crisis persists, children and pets are vulnerable to caregiver hospitalization. Methods: Bivariate associations from a large-scale survey explore perceptions...
Article
Objective : The current study evaluates whether, and to what extent, the association between gender-based victimization and wellbeing among sexual and gender minority emerging adults varies as a function of emotional support from companion animals. Method : Data were collected from young people between the ages of 18 and 21 years who self-identifie...
Article
This study examines the role of human-animal interaction (HAI) in relations between sexual and gender minority (SGM) stress, personal hardiness, and psychological stress during emerging adulthood. Data for the current sample reflect 136 SGM emerging adults between the ages of 18-21 years who reported living with a companion animal in the past year...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes current theoretical and empirical research on the influence of human-animal interaction on youths’ development and wellbeing. We highlight the potential benefits and risks associated with interactions with companion animals, emphasizing the importance of factors such as attachment and bonds with pets in the context of youths...
Article
Full-text available
LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual/gender minority identities) individuals frequently report exposure to microaggressions, which are associated with deleterious mental health outcomes. Social support from humans has been found to be an important protective factor for LGBTQ+ emerging adults. However, an underexplore...
Article
Full-text available
There is evidence that prioritizing pets’ welfare can impact the health and well-being of their owners, especially when pet owners have a strong bond with their pet. This carries public health implications, particularly in a global public health emergency such as COVID-19. The study objective was to understand pet owners’ consideration of their pet...
Chapter
Pets are often treated and cared for in ways that are similar to other human family members living in the home. When a home is characterized by domestic violence (DV), oftentimes the pet(s) is also victimized. This chapter describes what is known about violence against family pets in the context of DV. We first define family pet abuse and discuss i...
Article
Full-text available
[in press] Background: Prior research has found that co-occurring forms of family violence exacerbate the effect of intimate partner violence (IPV) exposure on children’s externalizing behaviors. Although exposure to animal cruelty (AC) is prevalent among children living in households where IPV occurs, no study to date has tested whether and to wha...
Article
Full-text available
Pets may be a positive presence for their owners during COVID-19. However, it is pertinent to identify the hardships associated with pet ownership. We conducted a large-scale survey of U.S. pet owners (n = 2,254) in spring and summer 2020 to assess the ways that relationships with pets impacted life during COVID-19. We used thematic analysis to ana...
Article
Full-text available
The dispersion of the Latinx population across the United States has resulted in mental health service gaps in communities that are experiencing rapid growth. We formed a community-academic partnership to assess the feasibility of training Latinx residents in an evidence-based mental health intervention and to pilot outcome measures. Spanish-speaki...
Article
With the aim of identifying avenues for targeted implementation of trauma-informed care in correctional contexts, this study engaged in a secondary data analysis to examine comorbidity patterns in the mental health difficulties of incarcerated women. Latent class analysis was conducted using nine indicators of mental health, and indicated the sampl...
Presentation
Full-text available
January 2020. Oral presentation at the annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, Washington, D.C. View live: https://prezi.com/view/1wVQmH01QjU2mtVsM2Ya/
Article
Full-text available
In 2018, more homes in the US have pets than those that have children. Though pets are regarded as property by US law, a majority of people identify pets as part of the family unit. Animal abuse and cruelty have been identified as a potential indicator and precursor to interpersonal violence (IPV). Moreover, child maltreatment, domestic violence, e...
Article
Background: It is estimated that more than half of children living in households where intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs are also exposed to animal cruelty (AC). Although prior research links bonds with pets with higher levels of socioemotional competence among school-age children, exposure to AC may negate the protective effects of pet owners...
Chapter
Associations between animal maltreatment 1 and other antisocial behaviors, such as aggression and interpersonal violence, have been well documented in research on children, adolescents, and adults (Ascione et al. 2018 ; Felthouse and Bernard 1979 ; Tapia 1971). The clinical significance of animal maltreatment behaviors as an indicator of maladjustm...
Article
Objectives: This article investigates distinct patterns of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in a representative sample of US older adults, and how the ACEs patterns relate to major depression and substance use disorder (SUD). Methods: Data came from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III. The study sample consi...
Article
Objectives: This study examines the role of parental messages about body image in relation to body image dissatisfaction (BID) and depressive symptoms among Latinx college students. We assessed negative and positive messages about body image from mothers and fathers to examine the indirect effect of BID in explaining links from parental communicat...
Article
Full-text available
Children living in households where intimate partner violence (IPV) is present are at increased risk of being exposed to concomitant maltreatment of companion animals. Recent research suggests that childhood exposure to maltreatment of companion animals is associated with compromised socioemotional well-being in childhood and adulthood. To date, th...
Article
Refugees often experience high levels of trauma and overall stress that contribute to disproportionate risk for mental health problems. Despite a 136% increase in the number of Somali refugees over the past quarter century, culturally appropriate mental health screening and assessment instruments for use with this population remain limited. This st...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been strongly linked with subsequent substance use. The aim of this study was to investigate how different patterns of ACEs influence substance use in young adulthood. Methods: Using a community sample of young individuals (N=336; ages 18-25), we performed latent class analyses (LCA) to identi...
Article
Aggression is prevalent in early‐ to mid‐adolescence and is associated with physical health and psychosocial adjustment difficulties. This underscores the need to identify risk processes that lead to externalizing outcomes. This study examined the extent to which the effects of three dimensions of beliefs supporting aggression on physical aggressio...
Article
Full-text available
Despite increased recognition that childhood animal cruelty (CAC) is a risk factor for subsequent interpersonal violence, there is a dearth of research examining motivations for children’s animal cruelty behaviors in the context of violent households. The purpose of this study is to build on prior research in this area using a qualitative child-cen...
Article
Full-text available
This study uses a mixed-methods approach to examine how patterns of exposure to animal maltreatment (AM) are related to socioemotional adjustment among children (N = 291) recruited from intimate partner violence (IPV) services. First, latent profile analysis (LPA) was used to identify subgroups of children with similar patterns of socioemotional fu...
Article
The confluence of developments in the assessment of animal abuse, the evolution of psychiatric nosology for the diagnosis of conduct disorder, legislative changes involving crimes against non‐human animals, and the recent inclusion of crimes against animals in the FBI's National Incident‐Based Reporting System, highlights the critical need for exam...
Article
The influence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which often include childhood exposure to maltreatment and household dysfunction, on health risk behaviors during young adulthood has been widely documented. A vulnerability marker for the increased risky behaviors among young ACEs victims such as impulsivity remains to be explored. The present...
Article
The goal of the current exploratory study was to examine associations between animal cruelty (AC), intimate partner violence (IPV), and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) among incarcerated adult males. Forty- two men incarcerated in a state prison participated in the study; all participants were incarcerated for IPV and/or admitted to committi...
Article
Research has documented a relationship between intimate partner violence (IPV) and animal abuse. Literature reports that many times IPV survivors delay seeking safety because of their concern for the safety of their pets and many shelters do not provide services for their pets. There continues to be a need for evidence-based guidelines to address t...
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the intersection of intimate partner violence (IPV) and animal cruelty in an ethnically diverse sample of 103 pet-owning IPV survivors recruited from community-based domestic violence programs. Template analysis revealed five themes: (a) Animal Maltreatment by Partner as a Tactic of Coercive Power and Control, (b) Animal Maltrea...
Article
Introduction: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been strongly linked with subsequent substance use. The aim of this study was to investigate how different patterns of ACEs influence substance use in young adulthood. Methods: Using a community sample of young individuals (N=336; ages 18-25), we performed latent class analyses (LCA) to ide...
Article
Full-text available
Few Latinx parents and adolescents talk with one another about dating violence, yet communication with parents could help adolescents make better decisions about dating relationships. Seventeen Latina adolescents (15–17 years old) and their mothers living in Washington D.C and central Virginia participated in semi-structured interviews to explore t...
Chapter
Drawing upon international expertise, and including some of the most well-known academics and practitioners in the field, The Routledge International Handbook of Human Aggression is the first reference work to fully capture how our understanding of aggression has been refined and reconceptualised in recent years. Divided into five sections, the ha...
Article
Children exposed to intimate partner violence are at increased risk for concomitant exposure to maltreatment of companion animals. There is emerging evidence that childhood exposure to maltreatment of companion animals is associated with psychopathology in childhood and adulthood. However, few studies have explored developmental factors that might...
Article
Full-text available
Most of the literature on Latinx youths’ ethnic identity development has been conducted in communities with a large Latinx population. Fewer studies have examined Latinx youths’ ethnic identity in communities with a smaller yet rapidly growing Latinx population (i.e., new Latinx destination communities). Twenty-five Latinx youth (10-15 years) livin...
Chapter
Full-text available
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