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You have to hit some people, it's all they understand!: are violent sentiments more criminogenic than attributing hostile intent in the escalation of grievances?

Kelty, Sally (2006) You have to hit some people, it's all they understand!: are violent sentiments more criminogenic than attributing hostile intent in the escalation of grievances? PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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      Abstract

      Is it what adult violent offenders think or how they think that discriminates them most from non-offenders? This study investigates whether violent and criminal sentiments, attributional biases and violence based grievance resolution strategies represent dynamic criminogenic risk factors. The results indicate that it is what offenders think that discriminates them more than how they think.

      The participants were 546 adults comprising 105 violent offenders, 238 university students and 203 men and women from a stratified random community sample. Using interview data from high-risk violent offenders, two scales were specifically developed to measure the variables of interest. The differences between offenders and non-offenders in violent attitudes was measured by expanding the scope of the Criminal Sentiments Scale. The differences in attributional biases and problem solving was assessed by a second scale developed for this study.

      The results showed that offenders were clearly different from non-offenders with the offenders endorsing significantly higher criminal and violent sentiments with an effect size of h2 =.46. The offenders also reported a significantly higher level of violence-based resolution strategies to end grievances than non-offenders. However, the surprising finding was that the adult male high-risk offenders did not demonstrate more pronounced hostile attributional biases than either adult men and women students or men and women from the community. The results imply that believing violence is acceptable and being prepared to use violence is more criminogenic than how you interpret the social behaviour of others. These findings have important implications for our understanding of why grievances escalate and the development of more effective intervention programs.

      Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
      Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
      Supervisor: Hall, Guy
      URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/121
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