The HABRI Foundation is calling for research proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. To learn more, visit close

You are here: Home / Journal Articles / An Exploratory Study of Domestic Violence: Perpetrators’ Reports of Violence Against Animals / About

An Exploratory Study of Domestic Violence: Perpetrators’ Reports of Violence Against Animals

By Sara Chiara Haden, Shelby E. McDonald, Laura J. Booth, Frank R. Ascione, Harold Blakelock

Category Journal Articles

The goal of the current exploratory study was to examine associations between animal cruelty (AC), intimate partner violence (IPV), and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) among incarcerated adult males. Forty-two men incarcerated in a state prison participated in the study; all participants were incarcerated for IPV and/or admitted to committing IPV in a past relationship. They completed measures on childhood animal cruelty (CAC), lifetime prevalence of AC, and IPV. It was hypothesized that men with ASPD diagnoses would report greater exposure to, and perpetration of, AC, as well as more severe IPV behaviors. It was also expected that lifetime exposure to, and perpetration of, AC would be associated with greater animal abuse in the context of IPV. Lastly, it was hypothesized that participants who reported exposure to, and perpetration of, AC would also report higher rates of IPV behaviors. Rates of animal cruelty were high in this sample. Approximately 36% of participants endorsed CAC, 81% reported animal cruelty perpetration in their lifetime, 85.7% reported being exposed to animal cruelty during their lifetime, 38% endorsed using threats against animals during a relationship conflict, and 52% reported abusing and/or killing a pet during a relationship conflict. CAC was significantly related to increased use of psychological abuse and sexual coercion in the context of intimate relationships. ASPD was not related to animal cruelty in the context of IPV. CAC was significantly associated with both threats to, and actual perpetration of, animal abuse during relationship conflicts. The limitations and implications of our findings are discussed in relation to future research.

Publication Title Anthrozoös
Volume 31
Issue 3
Pages 337-352
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2018.1455459
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal cruelty
  2. Child behavior
  3. Domestic violence
  4. Human-animal interactions
  5. Personality disorders