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Social and Emotional Context of Childhood and Adolescent Animal Cruelty: Is There a Link to Adult Interpersonal Crimes?

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 53 Issue: 5 Dated: October 2009 Pages: 596-606
Suzanne E. Tallichet; Christopher Hensley
Date Published
October 2009
11 pages
This study examined the link between early animal abuse and later violence toward humans.
Results suggest that covertness of animal cruelty has a greater relationship to later acts of interpersonal violence than the commission of animal cruelty within groups. The study examined the topic of the relationship of adolescent animal cruelty to adult interpersonal violence. Animal abuse has been increasingly regarded as both pathological and as a potential precursor for interpersonal violence, but the research on this relationship is both scanty and ambiguous. The study examined the social and emotional factors related to the youthful commission of animal cruelty among a sample of 112 prison inmates. Data were collected via questionnaires of male inmates in two medium security and one maximum-security prison. Neither acting alone nor being upset by their own animal abuse was significantly related to recurrent human violence. Only the concealment of their animal cruelty was a significant predictor of later adult violence; the more violent inmates in the sample were more likely to try to conceal their violence against animals at the time they engaged in it. Tables and references