Animal Abuse in Childhood and Later Support for Interpersonal Violence in Families

In: Society & Animals
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A survey of university students tested whether committing animal abuse during childhood was related to approval of interpersonal violence against children and women in families. Respondents who had abused an animal as children or adolescents were significantly more likely to support corporal punishment, even after controlling for frequency of childhood spanking, race, biblical literalism, and gender. Those who had perpetrated animal abuse were also more likely to approve of a husband slapping his wife. Engaging in childhood violence against less powerful beings— animals—may generalize to the acceptance of violence against less powerful members of families and society—women and children. This paper discusses the implications of this process.

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