Sunday, February 28, 2016

An Adolescent with Bestiality Behaviour: Psychological Evaluation and Community Health Concerns

Bestiality is a serious but less commonly reported form of animal cruelty occurring in a society. It is a punishable sexual offence in India. Bestiality has received little attention in recent psychiatric literature, and even though case reports have been published, an elaborate psychological assessment is often missing. This case report of 18 year old male presented here highlighted the importance of psychological assessment to emphasize on its implications for the further risk assessment of the person, family psycho-education and non-pharmacological intervention for bestialists. The overall assessment suggested of absence of any brain dysfunction and active psychopathology, average intelligence (IQ) and intact cognitive functioning. The findings portrayed physical and sexual inadequacies, emotional and sexual immaturity, difficulty in emotional attachment, internalized hostility, voyeuristic tendencies and infantile social behaviour, excitement seeker, inability to delay gratification of impulses, lacks empathy, poor self-discipline, less conscientiousness and less sensitive to criticism. The report also emphasized the role of child sexual abuse on sexual behavior later life. The importance of including the topic within the community health/sexual and reproductive health education programmes was highlighted.

..This was a case of an illiterate adolescent male, from a low socioeconomic status and living arrangements near a rural diary farm. The physical and social access of the patient to larger community was minimal. Choice of bestiality in this case was deliberate, situational and preferential. Alcohol may have been a contributing factor which caused loss of insight in this specific incident of bestiality, which resulted in a serious outcome of death of a calf. This finding was in line of study which reported substance abuse as an associate factor in case of bestiality.()

The childhood sexual abuse, exposure to various internet based pornography sites containing bestiality and voyeurism contents, could have strongly affected his psycho-socio-sexual and personality development. Repeated sexual abuse in a pre-pubertal stage could have been the culprit for the patient's internalized aggressive behaviour, which in turn might have resulted in the adopting displacement defence mechanism by the patient i.e. displacing his internal anger towards the animals. This, in turn, could have resulted in the forceful sexual imposition and committing injuries to the calves to such an extent.

Sexual abuse in early relationships could manifest itself as subsequent problems in the ability to establish and maintain healthy intimate relationships. This was also reflected in the personality analysis, which outlined him as a highly vigilant and less trusting person. Instead, the patient sought to satisfy sexual urges through pseudo-relationships (e.g., Voyeurism) or relationships with partners that are based on disproportionate power (e.g., bestiality, pedophillia)…

Full article at:

Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India
1Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India
Address for correspondence: Dr. Sujata Satapathy, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi - 110 029, India. E-mail: moc.liamg@yhtapatasatajus.rd

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