Life Stories of Therianthropes: An Analysis of Nonhuman Identity in a Narrative Identity Model

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Bricker, Natalie
human-animal relationships; nonhuman identity; Psychology
thesis / dissertation description
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.