Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Recurrent Childhood Animal Cruelty: Is There a Relationship to Adult Recurrent Interpersonal Violence?

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Recent studies have begun to establish an association between childhood acts of animal cruelty and later violence against humans. Even so, research has failed to establish a strong correlation between the two, perhaps because previous studies have failed to examine the commission of violence against animals and humans in terms of their frequencies. In a replication of Tallichet and Hensley (2004) and based on survey data from 180 inmates at a medium- and maximum-security prison in a Southern state, the present study examines the relationship between the demographic characteristics of race, level of education, the residential location of an offender’s formative years, and recurrent acts of childhood cruelty and their impact on later repeated acts of interpersonal violence. Only repeated acts of animal cruelty during childhood was predictive of later recurrent acts of violence toward humans, showing a possible relationship between the two.