Date Created



Despite the soaring popularity of household pets in America, very little thought is given about the rights of our domesticated animals to exist free from harm and abuse. Little research has been done concerning animal abuse as most studies measured animal abuse dichotomously, providing essentially no contextual information. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between psychopathy and animal abuse using the Psychopathic Personality Traits Scale (PPTS; Boduszek et al., 2016) and the Boat Inventory on Animal-Related Experiences (Boat Inventory; Boat, 1994) while accounting for other factors including what types of animals are abused and the methods of abuse. Similarly, this study used three regression models to compare psychopathy scores (using the PPTS) among participants who endorsed a history of hurting, torturing, or killing an animal, and then participants who did not. Overall, the results showed that individuals who had hurt, tortured, or killed an animal did, indeed, score higher on the PPTS than their non-abusing counterparts. More importantly, a history of abusing animals was a significant predictor of PPTS score. The results also provided descriptive data about the abuse, finding that dogs and cats were by far the most abused animal and the most popular abuse method included hitting, beating, or kicking an animal. Finally, three other factors acted as significant predictors across all three models: being female led to a significantly lower PPTS score while both abuse level and full-time employment positively affected PPTS score. Given the possibility of an important relationship between animal abuse and psychopathy score, more exploratory research is clearly warranted.


Animal Abuse; Psychopathy; Personality Traits