Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Exploring the Link Between Recurrent Acts of Childhood and Adolescent Animal Cruelty and Violent Crime

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2004


Studies demonstrating the potential link between childhood and adolescent acts of animal cruelty and later interpersonal violence toward humans remain ambiguous. Unfortunately, most of the research examining this possible link has failed to investigate repeated acts of animal cruelty or recurrent acts of violence toward humans. Using a sample of 261 inmates surveyed at medium and maximum security prisons in a southern state, this article examines how demographic attributes, childhood and adolescent characteristics, and repeated acts of cruelty toward animals impacted recurrent acts of interpersonal violence during adulthood. Respondents who had more siblings and who had committed repeated acts of animal cruelty were more likely to have engaged in recurrent acts of interpersonal violence, showing a possible link between recurrent acts of childhood and adolescent animal cruelty and subsequent violent crime.