“It’s a Dog’s Life”: Culture, Empathy, Gender, and Domestic Violence Predict Animal Abuse in Adolescents— Implications for Societal Health.

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Abstract

Whereas the majority of previous research conducted on animal abuse has

been in environments where animal abuse is rarely evidenced, the current

study investigated the ramifications of animal abuse in an environment

wherein the national culture creates an ethos of the “social acceptability”

of animal abuse in society. Two survey studies were conducted with

adolescent participants, to investigate the role played by several factors in

the prediction of animal abuse in this age group. In Study 1, with samples from

two different national cultures (101 from Germany and 169 from Romania;

143 boys/135 girls; age 13 to 17), animal abuse was negatively associated

with affective empathy and national culture; more frequent animal abuse was

found in Romania. Affective empathy fully mediated the association between

gender and animal abuse. Specifically, girls were found to be higher in

affective empathy; in turn, participants who were higher in affective empathy

committed less animal abuse. Witnessing animal abuse was also predictive of

engaging in animal abuse, but not independent of national culture. In Study 2,

15-year-old males (n  = 21) and females (n  = 39) took part, 29 from rural and

31 from urban locations in Romania. Rural adolescents were more likely to

abuse animals and had higher exposure to domestic violence, which (in turn)

was associated with more animal abuse. The implications of these findings in

a society where animal abuse is encouraged and enacted on a national scale

are discussed.

See the full paper here:

Plant-et-al.-J Interpers Violence-2016-with-DOI (1)

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