11.2 Psychological Conditions

In conjunction with wellness, we sought to test whether presumptions about the furry fandom as maladjusted or dysfunctional were supported or refuted by the data.

Across several studies, furries were shown to be no more likely than non-furries to experience anxiety in their day-to-day lives,1 and were diagnosed with anxiety disorders at a rate no higher than the general population (6.1%.)2 Similarly, furries were no more likely to experience depression than non-furries or members of other fandoms,3 and were diagnosed with depression and other mood disorders at a rate no higher than in the general population (16.1%.)4 Furries were also no more likely to have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (9.2%,)5 to have been prescribed psychotropic medication (37.3%,)6 or to have been diagnosed with a medical condition.7 These findings coincide with other data showing that furries are no more likely to experience dysfunctional fantasy or delusion than non-furries.8

In fact, of all the conditions studied, there was only one where the prevalence rate is possibly higher than in the general population: Asperger’s Syndrome, or high-functioning autism. Approximately 4% of participants indicated that they had been diagnosed of Asperger’s Syndrome. Given that estimates of the prevalence rate of Asperger’s Syndrome in the general population differ immensely, it is difficult to know exactly how much more prevalent this condition is in the furry fandom than the general population. However, the most conservative estimates suggest that, based on the obtained data, furries are at least 2.25 times more likely to have Asperger’s Syndrome than the general population, even after controlling for different sex ratios in the furry fandom. Additionally, there was a small, but significant positive relationship between the extent to which participants identified as being furry and having Asperger’s Syndrome (B = .083, p = .023). It should be noted, however, that one trait commonly associated with Asperger’s Syndrome is a powerful focus on a narrow or specific activity or interest. As such, future research is needed to test whether the increased prevalence in Asperger’s Syndrome in the furry fandom is unique, or whether it is observed in other fandoms as well.

In sum, generally speaking, there is little relationship between furries and clinical diagnoses of psychological dysfunction. Across several studies, furries did not differ significantly from the general population with regard to the prevalence psychological conditions. As such, it is incorrect to define or “try to explain furries” by the presence of any particular psychological condition or through any type of psychological dysfunction, as the data do not support such claims.

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  1. International Online Furry Survey: Winter 2011
  2. Anthrocon 2013 Study
  3. See IARP 2014 3-fandom study; International Online Furry Survey: Winter 2011
  4. Anthrocon 2013 Study
  5. Anthrocon 2013 Study
  6. Anthrocon 2013 Study
  7. Furry Fiesta 2015
  8. See 9.2 Fantasy Engagement

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