Learning to be cruel?: Exploring the onset and frequency of animal cruelty

  • Hensley C
  • Tallichet S
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Abstract

Few studies have examined how animal cruelty is learned within a specific social context among incarcerated individuals. Using data from 261 inmates, this study specifically addressed how demographic characteristics and childhood experiences with animal abuse may have affected the recurrence and onset of childhood and adolescent cruelty as a learned behavior. Multiple regression analyses revealed that inmates who experienced animal cruelty at a younger age were more likely to demonstrate recurrent animal cruelty themselves. In addition, respondents who observed a friend abuse animals were more likely to hurt or kill animals more frequently. Finally, inmates who were younger when they first witnessed animal cruelty also hurt or killed animals at a younger age.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Age of animal cruelty onset
  • Animal cruelty
  • Recurrence of animal abuse

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Authors

  • Christopher Hensley

  • Suzanne E. Tallichet

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