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Patterns of offending behaviour: A sequence analysis approach

Keatley, D.A. (2016) Patterns of offending behaviour: A sequence analysis approach. In: Northern Ireland Research Symposia. Division of Forensic Psychology, 23 May 2016, Queens University, Belfast.


Objectives: The main aim of this paper is to understand the pattern of actions involved in offending behaviours, in general. A particular case will be provided: A sequence analysis to describe the timeline of events between individuals deciding to consume alcohol, and then drive a vehicle.

Design: The study used a sequence analysis design, in which a series of actions related to drinking alcohol and driving were presented and individuals’ patterns of behaviours investigated.

Method: The method involves taking a series of recorded interviews into driving whilst under the influence of alcohol. The current sample of interviews (N=60) were transcribed and analysed until a mutually exclusive and exhaustive list of behaviours was agreed upon. Frequently occurring behaviours were then analyse for significant transitions.

Results: Results showed clear patterns of actions in individuals’ choices to consume alcohol and drive a vehicle. A lag one sequential analysis approach was used (i.e., a-b, b-c, c-d). This analysis involves transitions between only the one preceding behaviour (antecedent), to give a chain of events. Transition maps showing the sequence of events were developed to clearly show the patterns of behaviours that lead to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Conclusions: The present research highlights the sequences of actions and choices leading up to driving under the influence. The method has implications, which will be discussed, for policy and policing, as well as other related driving offences (i.e., drugs etc.). Limitations related to analysis are discussed and guidance provided. Relation to other areas of Forensic Psychology (i.e., rape cases, violence) will also be outlined.

Item Type: Conference Item
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