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  • 1. Farrington The Cambridge study of delinquent behaviour Turning to crime
  • 2. Aim: • To document the start, duration and end of offending behaviour from childhood to adulthood in families. • To investigate the influence of life events and family background on offending behaviour.
  • 3. Procedure: • A prospective longitudinal study • 411 boys aged between 8 and 9 • Taken from the registers of 6 state schools in East London, predominantly white, working class • From 397 different families • At age 48 when they were last interviewed, 394 were still alive and 365 were interviewed.
  • 4. Results: • At age 48, 404 individuals searched in criminal records and 161 had convictions. • Number of offenders and offences peaked at age 17. • Those who started a criminal career at age 10-13 nearly all reconvicted. • 93% committed at least one crime in their lives. • 7% were classes as chronic offenders and accounted for half of all offences. • Most chronic offenders shared childhood characteristics; high daring, convicted parent, large family size, young mother and low popularity.
  • 5. Conclusions: • Offenders tend to be deviant in many areas of their lives. • The most important risk factors for criminality include impulsiveness, poverty and poor school performance.
  • 6. Issues: • Generalisability – Cannot generalise to places out of cities – Large sample size- representative – Mainly white, working class males from East London – Male gender bias • Ethics – No follow up for those who dropped out of the study – Participants labelled as criminal children • Validity – Ecologically valid
  • 7. Debates: • Reductionism vs Holism – Takes into account many factors influencing criminality • Ethnocentrism – All boys from East London- Andocentric • Determinism vs Free will – Your background and upbringing affects criminality • Individual vs Situational – Views behaviour from a situational point of view • Nature vs Nurture – Can be argued from both sides
  • 8. Bandura Social learning theory and the transmission of aggression
  • 9. Background • Social Learning Theory is a theory that people learn behaviours though observational learning and through interaction with their environment. • If people observe positive, desired outcomes, in the observed behaviour, they are more likely to imitate and adopt this behaviour.
  • 10. Aim: • To see if children imitate modelled aggression in a new setting and to investigate sex differences in social learning theory.
  • 11. Methodology: • Lab experiment • Repeated measures design • 72 children from Stanford university nursery • Aged from 3 years 1 month to 5 years 9 months IV’s: •Sex of the child •Sex of the model •Behaviour conditions
  • 12. Procedure: • The experiment took place in three stages: Stage one: Children exposed to the adult model individually. In the aggressive condition the model acted out a series of pre-planned aggressive acts towards a bobo doll. In the non-aggressive condition, the model played quietly. Stage Two: Mild aggression arousal. Children were briefly showed some attractive toys and the told that they weren’t allowed to play with them. Stage three: Observation of delayed imitation lasted 20 minutes where the child was in a room containing aggressive and non-aggressive toys including a bobo doll. Observers watched through a one way mirror and noted imitated physical aggression, imitative verbal, imitated non- aggressive and imitated non- aggressive. Non-imitated responses were also noted.
  • 13. Results: • Boys were more physically aggressive than girls. • Children in the aggressive condition made more aggressive responses than the non-aggressive condition. • Girls in the aggressive condition showed more aggression if the model was male and more verbal aggression when the model was female. • Boys were more likely to imitate same sex models.
  • 14. Conclusions: • Findings support Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. • Applying this to criminality, SLT states that it is simply a learned behaviour, imitated from role models.
  • 15. Issues: • Ethics – No follow up to see if children retained aggressive behaviours – No assent- consent from the child- only parental consent • Generalisability – Large sample – All from one nursery- a prestigious university nursery! • Reliable – Can be replicated- lab experiment • Ecological validity – Controlled lab experiment – Out of the childrens usual nursery setting
  • 16. Debates: • Ethnocentric – All from one nursery • Individual vs Situational – You learn through interaction with the environment and through observing other people behaviours • Nature vs Nurture
  • 17. Wikstrom and Tafel The Peterborough Youth Study
  • 18. Aim: • To investigate why young people offend.
  • 19. Procedure: • A cross-sectional study • Carried out on 2000 year 10 students aged 14-15 • Data was collected from official records • Students were interviewed
  • 20. Results: • 44.8% of males and 30.6% of females had committed at least one crime during 2000. • 9.8% of males and 3.8% of females had committed a serious crime of theft. • High-frequency offenders commit a wide range of crimes. • 1 in 8 were reported to or caught by the police for their last offence. • Offenders are victimised more than non-offenders. • Violent offenders are more likely to become a victim of violence. • Offenders are more likely to abuse drink or drugs.
  • 21. Results: • Explanatory factors include: – Family social position; social class/ethnicity – Individual characteristics; self-control/morality – Social situation; Family/school bonds/opportunity for truancy – Lifestyle and routine activities – Community context; neighbourhood disadvantages/school attended
  • 22. Conclusions: • Wikstrom and Tafel proposed three groups of adolescent offenders: • Propensity induced – Enduring propensity to offend – Weak families and social bonds – Low levels of self control – Low levels of shame – High risk lifestyle • Lifestyle dependent – Average in terms of social readjustment – Offend when they have high risk lifestyles- drink/drugs • Situationally limited – Occasionally offend – Offend when exposed to high levels of situational risk – Unlikely to reoffend
  • 23. Issues: • Reliability – Interviews may give social desirable answers – However, checked with official records • Generalisability – Large sample- nearly 2000 – Only one age range – Only from one city
  • 24. Debates: • Determinism vs Free will – Argues both • D: Criminality comes from the influence of others • FW: Acknowledges individual differences • Nature vs Nurture – The environment and people we are associated with explain why people turn to crime • Reductionism vs Holism – Looks at a variety of factors influencing criminality