Reports of severe physical punishment and exposure to animal cruelty by inmates convicted of felonie

Escrito por Nuria Querol i Viñas.

Widespread exposure to some animal cruelty was reported by undergraduates; there were modest associations between reporting animal cruelty and reporting punitive and acrimonious childhood histories. In general, the findings were consistent with the hypothesis that there is an association between punitive childhood histories and antisocial behavior but not consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to animal cruelty is importantly related to antisocial behavior or child maltreatment.
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Reports of severe physical punishment and exposure to animal cruelty by inmates convicted of felonies and by university students.

Miller KS, Knutson JF.

Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA.

A self-report questionnaire designed to assess abusive childhood environments and exposure to animal cruelty was administered to 314 inmates in a prisoner classification center. Although high rates of physical punishment characterized the entire sample, persons charged with violent, but nonhomicidal crimes reported more severely punitive childhood histories than those charged with homicidal crimes, sex offenses, and nonviolent offenses. Some exposure to animal cruelty was widespread in the sample, but there was no association between experiencing animal cruelty and the type of crime committed. Moreover, there were only modest associations between animal cruelty experiences and the aversive childhood histories of the subjects, as well as the subjects' reported use of physical and sexual coercion in dating and intimate relationships. To determine whether the high base rate of exposure to animal cruelty was unique to the incarcerated sample, a follow-up study was completed with university undergraduates. Widespread exposure to some animal cruelty was reported by undergraduates; there were modest associations between reporting animal cruelty and reporting punitive and acrimonious childhood histories. In general, the findings were consistent with the hypothesis that there is an association between punitive childhood histories and antisocial behavior but not consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to animal cruelty is importantly related to antisocial behavior or child maltreatment.

PMID: 9023023 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

doi:10.1016/S0145-2134(96)00131-7    How to Cite or Link Using DOI (Opens New Window)  
Copyright © 1996 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

Reports of severe physical punishment and exposure to animal cruelty by inmates convicted of felonies and by university students*1

Karla S. Miller and John F. KnutsonCorresponding Author Contact Information

Department of Psychology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA

Received 1 February 1996;  revised 5 July 1996;  accepted 9 July 1996. ; Available online 24 July 1998.


Abstract

A self-report questionnaire designed to assess abusive childhood environments and exposure to animal cruelty was administered to 314 inmates in a prisoner classification center. Although high rates of physical punishment characterized the entire sample, persons charged with violent, but nonhomicidal crimes reported more severely punitive childhood histories than those charged with homicidal crimes, sex offenses, and nonviolent offenses. Some exposure to animal cruelty was widespread in the sample, but there was no association between experiencing animal cruelty and the type of crime committed. Moreover, there were only modest associations between animal cruelty experiences and the aversive childhood histories of the subjects, as well as the subjects' reported use of physical and sexual coercion in dating and intimate relationships. To determine whether the high base rate of exposure to animal cruelty was unique to the incarcerated sample, a follow-up study was completed with university undergraduates. Widespread exposure to some animal cruelty was reported by undergraduates; there were modest associations between reporting animal cruelty and reporting punitive and acrimonious childhood histories. In general, the findings were consistent with the hypothesis that there is an association between punitive childhood histories and antisocial behavior but not consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to animal cruelty is importantly related to antisocial behavior or child maltreatment.


 

Resumen

Un cuestionario de autoinforme diseñado para evaluar los ambientes infantiles maltratantes yla exposición a situaciones de crueldad con animales fue administrado a 314 internos en un centro de clasificación de prisioneros. A pesar de que toda la muestra se caracterizó por unas tasas altas de castigo físico, los sujetos acusados de delitos violentos (pero sin ser homicidios) informaron de historias infantiles con castigos más severos que aquellos sujetos acusados de delitos de homicidio, ofensas sexuales y ofensas no violentas. Cierta exposición a situaciones de crueldad con los animales fue general en toda la muestra, pero no se observó una asociación entre las experiencias de crueldad con los animales y el tipo de crimen cometido. Además, únicamente se observaron asociaciones débiles entre las experiencias de crueldad con los animales y las historias aversivas infantiles. Se observaron también asociaciones débiles con la utilización de los suetos de la coerción sexual y física en las relaciones íntimas. Para determinar si las altas tasas de exposición a situaciones de crueldad con los animales eran únicas de esta muestra de presos, se realizó un estudio de seguimiento con estudiantes universitarios. La exposición a algún tipo de crueldad con los animales fue ampliamente notificada por los estudiantes. Unicamente se observaron asociaciones débiles entre el hecho de haber informado sobre experiencias de crueldad con los animales y haber informado sobre historias infantiles punitivas y amargas. En general, los resultados son consistentes con la hipótesis de que hay una asociación entre historis infantiles punitivas y conducta antisocial, pero no son consistentes con la hipótesis de que la exposición a situaciones de crueldad con los animales están relacionadas de manera importante con la conducta antisocial o el maltrato infantil.

Author Keywords: Physical punishment; Felons; Animal cruelty; University students


 

Corresponding Author Contact InformationCorresponding author. Reprint requests should be addressed to John F. Knutson, Department of Psychology, Spence Laboratories of Psychology, 11 Seashore Hall E, Iowa City, IA 52242-1407.

*1 The research was supported, in part, by funds made available by The University of Iowa Honors Program, The University of Iowa Literature, Science and the Arts Program, and The University of Iowa Student Association.



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Child Abuse & Neglect
Volume 21, Issue 1 , January 1997, Pages 59-82