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Investigating animal abuse: some theoretical and methodological issues

By C. Pagani, F. Robustelli, F. R. Ascione

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This paper focuses on some basic issues that have been an object of debate in the last few years in the field of human-animal studies, namely the meaning and definition of animal abuse, the methods used to investigate it, and the relation between animal abuse and interpersonal violence. The interconnections among these issues are discussed within a theoretical framework that underlines the role of cultures in affecting people's attitudes and behaviors toward animals. Some of our assumptions are: (a) in the study of animal abuse experiences it is necessary to understand participants' conceptualizations of animal abuse; (b) it is important to use qualitative, in addition to quantitative, data, especially if we want to gain a deeper insight into animal abuse experiences, in particular into perpetrators' motivations; (c) it is imperative that the field of animal abuse research is considered an integral and important component not only of psychiatry and clinical psychology but also of sociology and social psychology; (d) the commonalities between animal abuse and interpersonal violence are deep and numerous. Some general issues regarding the development of instruments to assess animal abuse are also discussed. A significant support to our theoretical considerations is provided by some qualitative data we obtained from a study that involved 137 pupils aged 9-16 years (70 girls and 67 boys) in three Italian schools and whose main aim was to field-test and validate the Italian version of the child self-report form of The Children and Animals Inventory (CAI).

Date 2010
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 23
Issue 3
Pages 259-276
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Language English
Author Address Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, National Research Council, Via San Martino della Battaglia 44, 00185 Rome,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Activity
  2. Aggression
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Anthrozoology
  5. Attitudes
  6. Boy
  7. Children
  8. Conflict
  9. Culture
  10. Girls
  11. Instruments
  12. Mammals
  13. Methodologies
  14. Methods
  15. peer-reviewed
  16. Primates
  17. psychological well-being
  18. Public Services
  19. Research
  20. Schools
  21. social aspects
  22. Social psychology and social anthropology
  23. sociology
  24. students
  25. Studies
  26. Techniques
  1. peer-reviewed