Childhood bestiality: a potential precursor to adult interpersonal violence

J Interpers Violence. 2010 Mar;25(3):557-67. doi: 10.1177/0886260509360988.


Although bestiality is an infrequent form of animal cruelty, the possibility of identifying a potential link between these acts and later interpersonal violence is an area of research that deserves further exploration. In a replication of the Hensley, Tallichet, and Singer study and based on survey data from male inmates at a medium- and maximum-security prison in a southern state, the present investigation examines whether inmates who engaged in childhood bestiality (n = 23) differ from those who did not (n = 157) in terms of race, childhood residence, education, commission of a personal crime (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated/simple assault), and the number of personal crimes committed. The results revealed that respondents who had engaged in childhood bestiality were more likely to commit adult interpersonal crimes on two or more occasions as compared to those who had not engaged in bestiality. These findings lend further support to the sexually polymorphous theory that childhood bestiality may be a potential precursor to adult interpersonal violence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Animal Rights
  • Animal Welfare*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Development
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Violence / psychology*