Volume 32, Issue 6 (November 1987)
Psychosocial Aspects of Selecting Animal Species for Physical Abuse
Identification of psychosocial factors in selecting animals for abuse is relevant to mankind's relationship to the world of animals and to the psychology of human aggression. A major study of animal abuse involving 152 male subjects resulted in the identification of 23 subjects who have histories of substantial animal abuse. In attempting to identify psychosocial factors that may affect recurrent abusers' choices of animals to mistreat, findings are presented under four thematic questions: (1) Are animals selected for abuse because they are perceived to be dangerous? (2) Is there a relationship between method of abuse and type of animal selected for cruelty? (3) Are some types of animals more likely than others to evoke predisposing attitudes and abusive behaviors? (4) What kind of relationships do abusers have with the animals they choose to mistreat?