The children's treatment of animals questionnaire: A rasch analysis

Shelby Elaine McDonald, Courtney Vidacovich, Frank R. Ascione, James Herbert Williams, Kathy E. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The study of human–animal interactions is limited by a paucity of empirically validated measures of humane treatment of companion animals. The current study reports findings from a psychometric analysis of the Children's treatment of animals Questionnaire (CTAQ; thompson and Gullone 2003), an instrument that assesses children's humane interactions with nonhuman animals. Specifically, the current study extends what is known about the psychometric properties of the CTAQ by using traditional and item response theory analyses. The CTAQ was administered to a sample of 217 school-age children whose mothers were currently receiving residential or non-residential domestic violence services. Item-analysis, exploratory factor analysis, and parallel analysis were conducted to replicate previous psychometric evaluations of the CTAQ. Rasch analysis of the CTAQ was also conducted to provide a stringent test of unidimensionality and to identify potential invariance in item functioning across various demographic variables. The CTAQ showed adequate fit to the Rasch model; one modification, removal of item 5, was required. A Rasch principal components analysis of residuals indicated a single latent dimension among the remaining 12 items. Scale use was appropriate; Rasch-andrich thresholds increased with category values and no disordering of categories was evident. Examination of item-person maps indicated the sample was also well-targeted. Notably, evidence of differential item function was found across Spanish and English translations. Overall, findings indicate that the CTAQ is an appropriate unidimensional measure of children's humane treatment of animals. The measure is particularly well-suited for children ages 7 to 12 years who are at risk for exposure to and perpetration of animal cruelty. We recommend use of a 12-item version of the CTAQ to enhance the utility of the total score as a latent measure of children's humane treatment of companion animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-144
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • CTAQ
  • Children
  • Companion animals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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