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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
Abstract

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