Childhood cruelty to animals in China: the relationship with psychological adjustment and family functioning
Version of Record online: 13 SEP 2012
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Child: Care, Health and Development
Volume 39, Issue 5, pages 668–675, September 2013
How to Cite
Wong, J., Mellor, D., Richardson, B. and Xu, X. (2013), Childhood cruelty to animals in China: the relationship with psychological adjustment and family functioning. Child: Care, Health and Development, 39: 668–675. doi: 10.1111/cch.12001
- Issue online: 15 AUG 2013
- Version of Record online: 13 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 MAY 2012
- childhood cruelty to animals;
- family functioning;
- psychological adjustment
The current study broadened the general scope of research conducted on childhood cruelty to animals by examining the association between psychological adjustment, family functioning and animal cruelty in an Eastern context, China.
The mothers and fathers of 729 children attending primary school in Chengdu, China participated in this study. Each parent completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, the Chinese Family Assessment Instrument, and the Children's Attitudes and Behaviours towards Animals questionnaire.
Findings from an actor partner interdependence model demonstrated that parents' ratings of family functioning and of their child's externalizing coping style predicted only modest amounts of variance in animal cruelty. In particular, parents' ratings of their child's externalizing coping style most consistently predicted animal cruelty. Family functioning, fathers' ratings in particular, played a minor role, more so for boys compared with girls.
This study provided the first insight into childhood animal cruelty in China, and suggests that further research may enhance our understanding of these phenomena.