Exposure to animal abuse and group context: two factors affecting participation in animal abuse

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Over the previous three decades, an emerging body of literature has highlighted the significance of animal abuse as an important indicator of disturbed social development. The current study attempted to expand upon previous research by examining two factors associated with participation in animal abuse: age of first exposure to animal abuse and group versus solitary participation in animal abuse. Within a sample of 206 college students, the age at which a participant reported that they were first exposed to animal abuse was an important determinant of the risk associated with that exposure. Those who reported having first observed animal abuse prior to 13 years of age were more likely to have engaged in animal abuse than were those who reported having first observed abuse at 13 years or later. In addition, those who reported having engaged in animal abuse alone on at least one occasion had higher self-reported delinquency scores, and exhibited less sensitivity to the treatment of animals, than those who never engaged in animal abuse. Theoretical and methodological considerations, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279304785643195

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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