Off-campus Pacific University users: To download campus access theses and dissertations, please log into our proxy server with your PUNet ID and password.

Non-Pacific University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis or dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Theses or dissertations that have a specific embargo period indicated below will not be available to anyone until the date indicated.

Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology (MSCP)

Committee Chair

Catherine Miller, Ph.D.


The following literature review is a functional analytic approach to reviewing existing research on animal cruelty behavior. First, both legal and research-related difficulties associated with developing a consistent definition of animal cruelty are discussed. Existing assessments and treatments of animal cruelty are also discussed. Functional analysis is defined and its utility in animal cruelty research is discussed. Specifically, the argument is made that functional analyses in animal cruelty research will allow for a better understanding of the variables that predict and lead to the maintenance of animal cruelty behavior. This analysis will lead to development of treatments that directly target the problem behavior in an effective and efficient manner. The research in this review is organized among three hypothesized functions: 1) engaging in the behavior for one’s own intrinsic entertainment; 2) a means of strengthening one’s existing aggressive tendencies; 3) taking anger toward a human out on a more vulnerable being.


The digital version of this paper is currently unavailable to off-campus users; however, it may be accessed on campus or through interlibrary loan (for eligible borrowers) from Pacific University Library. Pacific University Library is a free lender.

This paper will become openly available for download 24 months after its initial posting in CommonKnowledge.

Library Use: LIH