Attitudes to Animals and Bullying among Teenagers



Objective of the study is to test the hypothesis about the connection between bullying and animal violence. Background. Several studies explore the link between aggressive behaviors in children and cruelty to animals. One the most typical aggression behavior for the Russian adolescents is bullying. The article seeks to understand if a cruelty to animals a significant predictor of bullying roles (victim, bully, witness). Study design. The study was conducted using a socio-psychological survey. Cruelty to animals was assessed with Cruelty to Animals Inventory, attitudes to animals were measured with Pet Attitudes Scale. Prevalence of bullying was estimated with Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire. Participants. The study included two samples. The first sample included 69 respondents (average age 13,7 years; 55% of males). The second — 96 respondents (average age 14,01 years; 74% of males). Methods. For data processing, mean comparisons (t-test, Wilcoxon test), chi-square test and regression analysis were applied in R 3.5.0 environment. Results. 44—53% of adolescents were cruel to animals at least once. 42% of adolescents were found to be victims of bullying, 20% — were bullies and 88% were witnesses. Girls were found to be bullies more frequently than boys. Cruelty to animals was a significant predictor only for the victim role, but not for bully or the witness role. Conclusions. Cruelty to animals can be an indicator of bullying in adolescence.

General Information

Keywords: cruelty to animals, attitudes to animals, bullying, adolescence

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project number 18-313-00131.

For citation: Volkova I.V. Attitudes to Animals and Bullying among Teenagers. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2021. Vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 183–196. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2021120211. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Irina V. Volkova, senior analyst, Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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