OCR psychology G543 crime

revision cards for the forensic unit for OCR psychology unit G543


1.1 Disrupted families: Farrington et al, The Camb

Aim: Identify risk factors for crime. 

Methodology: Longitudinal study, Self-report design.

Sample: 411 boys, white, working-class from the east end of London born in the 1950s, they were interviewed aged 48.

Results: 161 of participants had convictions by the time of the interview; Offences peaked at age 17/18; Criminal career at young age of 10-13 nearly all re-convicted; Small percentages of males were 'chronic offenders'. 

Conclusion: Farrington found some of the following factors of family life, which are significant: Criminality in the family; large family size; having a young mother; poverty; poor parenting; low popularity; and high daring.

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1.2 Learning from others – Peer groups; Sutherland

Recent evidence from social and developmental psychology stresses the importance of our peer group in ones behaviour. Therefore it is not only our family but our wider social network which has an influence over our behaviour. 

Sutherland, Theory of Differential Association

Sutherland supports recent evidence that our peer group can be an important factor in whether we offend or not. Sutherland came up with 9 principles for why individuals behave criminally a common aspect of all 9 principles is that 'we learn criminal behaviour'. Sutherland argued that criminality is not innate or pathological. Just as non-criminal behaviour is learnt so is criminal behaviour. They also learn to rationalise their behaviour from others. 

In summary Sutherland argues that what we consider to be normative, behaviour is learnt from others. The implication of this is that they may consider their behaviour as normal and not deviant.


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