Psychological theories of delinquent causation

Tweet offending antisocial theory personality It is hard to specify distinctively psychological theories of crime.

Psychological theories of delinquent causation

Tweet offending theory self impulsiveness The Eysenck personality theory. Studies show that antisocial behavior is remarkably consistent over time; or, to be more precise, the relative ordering of individuals is remarkably consistent over time Roberts and Del Vecchio. Psychologists assume that behavioral consistency depends primarily on the persistence of individuals' underlying tendencies to behave in particular ways in particular situations.

These tendencies are termed personality traits, such as impulsiveness, excitement seeking, assertiveness, modesty, and dutifulness. Larger personality dimensions such as Extraversion refer to clusters of personality traits. Historically, the best-known research on personality and crime was that inspired by Hans Eysenck's theory and personality questionnaires.

Sociological Approaches

Eysenck viewed offending as natural and even rational, on the assumption that human beings were hedonistic, sought pleasure, and avoided pain.

He assumed that delinquent acts such as theft, violence, and vandalism were essentially pleasurable or beneficial to the offender. In order to explain why everyone was not a criminal, Eysenck suggested that the hedonistic tendency to commit crimes was opposed by the conscience, which he like Gordon Trasler viewed as a conditioned fear response.

Under the Eysenck theory, the people who commit offenses have not built up strong consciences, mainly because they have inherently poor conditionability. People who are high on E build up conditioned responses less well, because they have low levels of cortical arousal. People who are high on N also condition less well, because their high resting level of anxiety interferes with their conditioning.

Also, since N acts as a drive, reinforcing existing behavioral tendencies, neurotic extraverts should be particularly criminal. Eysenck also predicted that people who are high on P would tend to be offenders, because the traits included in his definition of psychoticism emotional coldness, low empathy, high hostility, and inhumanity were typical of criminals.

However, the meaning of the P scale is unclear, and it might perhaps be more accurately labeled as psychopathy. A review of studies relating Eysenck's personality dimensions to official and self-reported offending concluded that high N but not E was related to official offending, while high E but not N was related to self-reported offending Farrington et al.

High P was related to both, but this could have been a tautological result, since many of the items on the P scale were connected with antisocial behavior or were selected in light of their ability to discriminate between prisoners and nonprisoners.

In the prospective longitudinal study of over four hundred London boys, those high on both E and N tended to be juvenile self-reported offenders, adult official offenders, and adult self-reported offenders, but not juvenile official offenders. These relationships held independently of other criminogenic risk factors such as low family income, low intelligence, and poor parental child-rearing behavior.

However, when individual items of the personality questionnaire were studied, it was clear that the significant relationships were caused by the items measuring impulsiveness e.

Hence, it seems likely that research inspired by the Eysenck theory mainly identifies the link between impulsiveness and offending. Since the most widely accepted personality system has been the "Big Five" or five-factor model. This suggests that there are five key dimensions of personality: Openness means originality and openness to new ideas, Agreeableness includes nurturance and altruism, and Conscientiousness includes planning and the will to achieve.

Because of its newness, the "Big Five" personality theory has rarely been studied in relation to offending. However, in an Australian study, Patrick Heaven showed that Agreeableness and Conscientiousness were most strongly negatively correlated with self-reported delinquency.

Impulsiveness is the most crucial personality dimension that predicts offending. Unfortunately, there are a bewildering number of constructs referring to a poor ability to control behavior.

Psychological theories of delinquent causation

These include impulsiveness, hyperactivity, restlessness, clumsiness, not considering consequences before acting, a poor ability to plan ahead, short time horizons, low self-control, sensation-seeking, risk-taking, and a poor ability to delay gratification.

In the longitudinal study of over four hundred London males, three groups of boys all tended to become offenders later in life: Later self-report measures of impulsiveness were also related to offending.

Three Theories of Criminal Behavior | Owlcation

Daring, poor concentration, and restlessness all predicted both official convictions and self-reported delinquency, and daring was consistently one of the best independent predictors Farrington, The most extensive research on different measures of impulsiveness was carried out in another longitudinal study of males the Pittsburgh Youth Study by Jennifer White and her colleagues.

The measures that were most strongly related to self-reported delinquency at ages ten and thirteen were teacher-rated impulsiveness e.

Generally, the verbal behavior rating tests produced stronger relationships with offending than the psychomotor performance tests, suggesting that cognitive impulsiveness based on thinking processes was more relevant than behavioral impulsiveness based on test performance.

Future time perception and delay of gratification tests were less strongly related to self-reported delinquency.

There have been many theories put forward to explain the link between impulsiveness and offending.

Psychological Theories of Delinquent Causation | Essay Example

One of the most popular theories suggests that impulsiveness reflects deficits in the executive functions of the brain, located in the frontal lobes Moffitt. Persons with these neuropsychological deficits will tend to commit offenses because they have poor control over their behavior, a poor ability to consider the possible consequences of their acts, and a tendency to focus on immediate gratification.

There may also be an indirect link between neuropsychological deficits and offending that is mediated by hyperactivity and inattention in school and the resulting school failure.Sociological and Psychological Theories of Crime Causation The aim of this essay is to compare, contrast and evaluate two sociological theories of crime causation and two psychological theories of crime causation.

Sociological Theories of crime, Labelling and Structural Functionalism/ Strain. Howard Becker is a sociologist that is often. As a result, behavioural theory directly contributed to the development of social learning theories of deviance (differential association theory, sub-cultural theory, neutralization theory, etc.).

Psychological theories of delinquent causation

These theories, among the most important and influential of all criminological theories, are subject to a detailed discussion in the section of this report entitled Social Learning and Violence (see below). psychological theories derived from behavioural sciences and that focus on the individual as the unit of analysis.

-place the locus of crime causation within the personality of the individual offender. Volume 5, Chapter 2: Psychological Theories. In sum, as with biosocial theories of crime causation, psychological theories focus on the identification and treatment of individual traits that may predispose people to violent behaviour.

As such, psychological theorists have been charged with ignoring larger social forces – including poverty. Psychological Theories of Crime and Delinquency sociological and psychological theories, this literature review identifies and synthesizes five major theories in the field of psychology related to crime.

Psychological Theories of Delinquent Causation In choosing theories of causation to get a better understanding of why delinquent behavior occurs, one should approach the psychological theories.

Within the psychological theories, are two theories we will to further explore.

Crime Causation: Sociological Theories |