ISU Professor Co-Authors Study on Self-Identified Vampires 

Considers how clinicians can provide health and social services for 'alternative identities'

click to enlarge "Vampire," 1893, by Edvard Munch.

"Vampire," 1893, by Edvard Munch.

An Idaho State University professor has co-authored a paper on a toothy topic: Vampires.

ISU Associate Professor of Social Work DJ Williams and Emily Prior, of the Center for Positive Sexuality in Los Angeles, have published a five-year study, "Do We Always Practice What We Preach? Real Vampires' Fears of Coming out of the Coffin to Social Workers and Helping Professionals," in Critical Social Work, a social justice interdisciplinary journal.

The article asserts that people who self-identify as vampires are "more common than most people realize" and come from a range of age, racial and socio-economic backgrounds. Vampires are people who purport to feed on energy that can come in the form of blood or "psychic" energy—and they pose challenges to social- and healthcare service providers.

According to the article, these individuals keep their "alternate identities" as vampires private out of fear of discrimination or being misunderstood. Sensitivity to the nature of vampiric identity can improve outcomes when vampires come into contact with social service providers.

"People with alternative identities have the same set of issues that everybody else has," Williams stated in a press release. "People of all kinds sometimes struggle with relationship issues or have a death in the family or struggles with career and job-type issues. Some of these people with alternative identities may come to a therapist with these issues, and if clinicians are open and educated about this group they should be able to help the individual much better."

The authors wrote in the study abstract that exploring the vampiric identity has broader applications for "other alternative identities, such as goths, otherkin, furries, and specific BDSM identities."

"Generally, it seems that rapid advances in technology provide a social environment conducive to the development of unique and unconventional identities," the authors added. "We should not be surprised to see a proliferation of nontraditional identities in the future." 
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