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different expressions of the diffuse manner in which these correlations function in the form of General Strain Theory or General Deviance Theory. In relation to children this same approach is represented by research that connects the frequency of adverse experiences, brain health, and later antisocial behavior--linked by the concept of toxic stress.[5]
This more cumulative and non-speci c appreciation
of vulnerability is better able to encompass all of the reasons why a person might not conform to social expectations--which encompasses incompetency, oppositional attitudes, and active motivations like status building, control-seeking and sadism. But in terms
of sadism it better places these cases in their proper concept which is to say, sadistic violence is extremely rare even in populations of known abusers and violent criminals where it rarely exceeds 2%.
The Role of Severity
What seems to be needed is a separation in the streams of research on this topic. On one side we have the greatest amount of animal suffering which is caused predominantly by relatively simple motivations by people who are not seriously psychologically disordered. But
on the other hand a smaller proportion of people who are highly compromised or sadistic/psychopathic do a disproportionate amount of harm. And an understanding of how to address these problems will be easier to reach if they are recognized as qualitatively different phenomena. As such those focused on the reduction
of harm to animals might tend to focus on the larger population with fewer pathological characteristics, and the smaller population that commit more serious types of abuse would be more salient to law enforcement and forensic psychology.
The best place to draw the line between these two groups is still being determined however relevant factors are having a “deliberate” motivation, the number of abuse events, the use of severe and hands-on violence, and the abuse of domesticated animals especially family pets.
[6] Perpetrators of these more serious types of abuse
are rare in normative and control populations, are more likely to display measurable psychological abnormalities, and are more likely to be dangerous to the community in other ways. In this group there is evidence that stronger correlation are found, especially when comparing similar acts against humans and animals, such as violent physical assaults.
The Public Health Approach to Violence
When addressing the larger population that typically carry out less severe forms of abuse, or forms with ambiguous social acceptance, models for research and responding that show the most promise treat violence as a “public health” problem. People in this diverse group typically commit abusive acts for a simple but
An Urban Experience
somewhat idiosyncratic reasons such as ignorance, anger or attempts to intimidate and control others. These broad categorizations are a context against which individuals motivations can be revealed and addressed. There no reliable ways to leap from symptom (violence) to response (preventative program or treatment), without understanding the intervening motivation. However one model that has proved helpful in revealing the prevailing factors at work in a community is the “violence as contagion” theory.[7]
A major limiting factor to responding to animal abuse and other problematic behaviors at the community level is that many people have little sympathy for or interest in working with perpetrators, and resources for working in some at-risk areas are very limited. When interventions do occur, for example in relation to a criminal conviction, the literature shows that mental health professionals habitually over-estimate the dangerousness of violent offenders which can interfere with treatment and rehabilitation. The use of a public health model and objective risk and proclivity scales for children and adultse.g.[8] may begin to allow effective responding that is truly preventative of the forms of animal abuse that result in the greatest amount of animal suffering.
[1] Ascione, F. R. (1993). Children who are cruel to animals: A review of research and implications for developmental psychopathology. Anthrozoös, 6(4), 226-247.
[2] Gullone, E. (2016). To minimize animal suffering, broaden the de nition of animal cruelty. Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling, 1(6), 7.
[3] Patterson-Kane, E. G., & Piper, H. (2009). Animal abuse as a sentinel for human violence: A critique. Journal of Social Issues, 65(3), 589-614.
[4] Hellman, D.S. & Blackman, N. (1966). Enuresis,  resetting and cruelty to animals: a triad predictive of adult crime. Adolescence, 36, 461-466.
[5] Boat, B. W. (2014). Connections among adverse childhood experiences, exposure to animal cruelty and toxic stress: What do professionals need to consider?. Natl Cent Prosecution Child Abuse Update, 24(4), 1-3.
[6] Arluke, A., & Mad s, E. (2014). Animal abuse as a warning sign of school massacres: A critique and re nement. Homicide studies, 18(1), 7-22.
[7] Slutkin, G. (2012). Violence is a contagious disease. In Contagion of violence: Workshop summary (pp. 94-111). National Academy Press Washington, DC.
[8] Alleyne, E., Tilston, L., Par tt, C., & Butcher, R. (2015). Adult-perpetrated animal abuse: Development of a proclivity scale. Psychology, Crime & Law, 21(6), 570- 588.
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