Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

Major Professor

William R. Nugent

Committee Members

John E. Nolt, John C. New, Jr., Matthew T. Theriot


The purpose of this study was to investigate the types of behaviors juvenile sexual offenders participate in and inflict on animals, and compare them to the behaviors of youths involved in other types of crimes, and youths not involved in any criminal activity. A total of 654 juvenile males participated in the study and were included for data analysis. Participants were recruited in two phases. The first phase gathered participants from two treatment centers, and the second phase collected data from students enrolled in undergraduate classes at a public southeastern university. All participating youths were then divided into five categories: non-offenders, non-violent offenders, sexual offenders, violent offenders and youths who committed both violent and sexual offenses (violent/sex offenders). Results indicated the overall relationship between group membership and bestiality was statistically significant, χ2(4)=26.62, p< .001. Further analysis revealed that there was a statistically significant difference between sex offenders (18.9%) and non-violent offenders (3.9%), Z=3.29, p<.05; sex offenders (18.9%) and non-offenders (2.4%), Z=4.30, p<.05; and violent/sex offenders (18.2%) and non-offenders (2.4%), Z=2.14, p<.05. Additionally, an overall test of the relationship between physical violence and group membership were also statistically significant, χ2(4)=36.42, p<.001. Further analysis revealed that there was a statistically significant difference between violent/sex offenders (90.9%) and non-offenders (31.4%), Z=3.78, p<.05; violent/sex offenders (90.9%) and non-violent offenders (50.8%), Z=2.30, p<.05; violent/sex offenders (90.9%) and sex offenders (51.4%), Z=2.00, p<.05; violent offenders (53.8%) and non-offenders (31.4%), Z=2.974, p<.05; sex offenders (51.4%) and non-offenders (31.4%), Z=2.235, p<.05; and non-offenders (31.4%) and non-violent offenders (50.8%), Z=4.545, p<.05. Because of a low response rate, the temporal order of sexual offenses against humans and sexual behavior with animals was not able to be determined in this study. As for the temporal order of physical violence to people and animals, no statistically significant difference was found regarding the order of violence perpetrated against humans and animals.

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