Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 235–239

Significance of Family Risk Factors in Development of Childhood Animal Cruelty in Adolescent Boys with Conduct Problems

  • Alexander Duncan
  • Jay C. Thomas
  • Catherine Miller

DOI: 10.1007/s10896-005-5987-9

Cite this article as:
Duncan, A., Thomas, J.C. & Miller, C. J Fam Viol (2005) 20: 235. doi:10.1007/s10896-005-5987-9


The literature suggests that physical child abuse, sexual child abuse, paternal alcoholism, paternal unavailability, and domestic violence may be significant in development of childhood animal cruelty. Two groups of early- to late adolescent boys (CTA and N-CTA) in residential treatment for conduct disorder were compared in the current study on histories of these family risk factors. The adolescents in Group 1 were comprised of boys who had conduct problems with documented histories of animal cruelty (n = 50; CTA). Group 2 consisted of adolescent boys (n = 50; N-CTA) with conduct problems, but without documented histories of animal cruelty. Results showed that children in the CTA group had significantly greater histories of physical and/or sexual child abuse and domestic violence in comparison to children in the N-CTA group. These results suggest that physical and/or sexual abuse to a child, and exposure to domestic violence, may be significant in the development of childhood animal cruelty.


childhood animal crueltyphysical child abusesexual child abusefamily violence

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Duncan
    • 1
  • Jay C. Thomas
    • 2
    • 3
  • Catherine Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Professional PsychologyPacific UniversityForest Grove
  2. 2.School of Professional PsychologyPacific UniversityPortland
  3. 3.School of Professional PsychologyPacific UniversityPortland