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Demographic Characteristics of Individuals Who Abuse Animals: A Systematic Review

By Lisa Emmett, Nina Kasacek, Birgit Ursula Stetina

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The purpose of the following review is to evaluate current literature on animal abuse including animal hoarding and zoophilia to identify demographic characteristics of adults who abuse animals. The review was conducted by using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) Checklist 2009 (Moher et al., 2010). As the body of this research is still limited there were no restrictions regarding the level of evidence of studies made. A total of 44 studies met the selection criteria and were included in the review. The present review’s main findings suggest that animal hoarders are mostly female and between their fifties and sixties. In contrast individuals who engage in nonsexual abuse are more likely to be male and younger (20–35 years). Several comorbid clinical symptoms could be identified in animal abusers such as depression, autism, or substance abuse. Overall, the phenomenon of animal abuse remains an underresearched area of study and studies are characterized by limited levels of evidence. The present review may contribute to a deeper understanding of animal abuse with the objective of prevention and the development of multiprofessional management strategies.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2021
Publication Title People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 35
ISBN/ISSN 2575-9078
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal abuse
  2. Animal hoarding
  3. Animal roles
  4. open access
  5. Pets and companion animals
  6. Zoophilia
  1. open access