Psychological risk factors for childhood nonhuman animal cruelty

Roxanne D. Hawkins, Emma L. Hawkins, Joanne M. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Despite growing research into human-nonhuman animal relationships, little is known about childhood cruelty to nonhuman animals. The purpose of this review was to investigate the potential psychological risk factors for childhood cruelty to animals. The aim was to assemble, synthesize, and evaluate the quality and breadth of existing empirical research and highlight areas in need of further study. The review reveals a myriad of potential psychological risk factors associated with childhood animal cruelty, but highlights the decrease in publications on this topic over time and the lack of high-quality publications. Investigating the factors underlying cruel behavior toward animals has great implications for animal welfare and child wellbeing, and is vital for designing and implementing successful universal and targeted interventions to prevent cruelty to animals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-312
Number of pages33
JournalSociety and Animals
Issue number3
Early online date1 Jun 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • animal cruelty
  • childhood
  • human-animal interactions
  • prevention
  • risk factors
  • Violence


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