Psychodynamic Approach to explaining criminality

  • Created by: grestabi
  • Created on: 17-12-18 11:44
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  • Psycho-dynamic approach to explaining criminality (Freud's theory)
    • Sees the superego as crucial in explaining criminality
      • Blackburn (1993) - if superego is deficient, criminality is inevitable. Id isn't properly controlled and impulses and urges will be given into.
        • Weak superego - If same sex parent is absent during Phallic stage. Child has failed to internalise the moral values of same sex parent.
        • Deviant superego - Child internalises morals of a deviant or criminal same sex parent.
        • Over-harsh superego - if same sex parent is overly harsh. Child is crippled with guilt and anxiety; commits crime to satisfy superego's need for punishment.
          • Does not stand up to scrutiny - most criminals go to great lengths not to be caught and punished.
    • Bowlby's Maternal deprivation
      • If infant deprived of  mother or mother-figure during critical period of attachment = serious + permanent consequences. These include mental abnormalities, delinquency, depression and affectionless psychopathology
      • Little evidence - many grow up without a same sex parent and don't turn to crime
    • Family influence is undeniably a factor in criminality - delinquent parents' offspring much more likely to turn to crime.
    • This theory is often seen as sexist as Freud argued that females were less moral than males.
      • However the vast majority of criminals are male, not female. Males outnumber females in prison throughout the world.


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