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Bullying and Animal Abuse: Is There a Connection?

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In recent years, school violence has become an issue of great concern among psychologists, educators, and law-enforcement officials. The purpose of the current study was to examine the relationship between bullying, victimization, and abuse of nonhuman animals. The study assessed bullying and victimization experiences, animal abuse, and attitudes toward animals within a sample of 185 college males. Results of the study highlighted the important distinction between males involved in single episodes of animal abuse and those involved in multiple episodes of animal abuse. Further, results highlighted the significance of the bully/victim phenomenon with regard to participation in multiple acts of animal abuse. Those who were above the median with regard to both victimization and perpetration of physical bullying exhibited the highest rates of involvement in multiple acts of animal abuse and also exhibited the lowest levels of sensitivity with regard to cruelty-related attitudes pertaining to animals. The study discusses theoretical mechanisms linking bullying and animal abuse as well as directions for future research.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Metropolitan State College of Denver, PO Box 17336, Denver, CO 80217; 2: Metropolitan State College of Denvet


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