The development of the `P.E.T.¿ Scale for the measurement of Physical and Emotional Tormenting against animals in adolescents
The Physical and Emotional Tormenting Against Animals Scale (P.E.T.) is a new self-administered scale to measure physical and emotional abuse against animals among adolescents. This study is a first attempt to establish the reliability and validity of this newly developed scale with a non-clinical sample of 1396 Italian adolescents, aged 11-17 years.The scale measures different dimensions of animal abuse, ranging from mild to more severe: bothering, tormenting, hitting, harming, and being cruel to an animal. The scale measures the prevalence and frequency of directed and witnessed abuse against animals. Principal components analysis suggested a two factor solution, with factors labeled "direct" and "indirect" animal abuse; internal consistency was good for each factor.The direct animal abuse factor was significantly correlated with the Child Behavior Checklist's single item assessing engagement in cruelty against animals. These findings suggest that the PET scale has potential as an instrument for the measurement of animal abuse. Future studies of the PET scale's psychometric properties, and cross-validation on new populations, are needed.