upbringing section of turning to crime. A2 psychology

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Aim-test out if problem families produce problem children i.e. are young boys who have close criminal relatives more likely to acquire a criminal record

Design-A longitudinal survey. Data was gathered from interviews at age 48 and searches of criminal records

Participants-411 boys aged 8-9 yrs old, from six state schools in east London, were white working class

Procedure- interviews with children and their parents, questionnaires completed by teachers. Criminal records were checked of the participants, their biological fathers, mothers and full siblings


At age 48 161 out of 404 individuals had convictions

The no. Of offences and offenders peaked at age 17

Most chronic offenders shared common childhood characteristics such as; having a convicted parent, delinquent sibling, young mother, disrupted family and a large family size

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Attempts to explain criminal behaviour as a result of learning from others within the following principles:

1.      Criminal behaviour is learned not inherited

2.      Criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication

3.      The principle part of the learning of criminal behaviour occurs within intimate personal groups

4.      When criminal behaviour is learned, the learning includes the techniques of committing a crime

5.      The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of the legal codes as favourable or unfavourable

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Wikstrom and Tafel:

Method-Interview and data collection from criminal records data base

Participants-2000 year 10 pupils

Key findings-

·         44.8% of males and 30.6% of females have committed one of the study’s crimes by yr 2000

·         9.8% and 3.8% of the females had committed a serious crime of theft

·         Offenders are more often drunk and using drugs than other youths

·         Offenders are more often victimised than non offenders and violent offenders are more likely to be victims of violence

Explanatory factors-

·         Family social position

·         Individual characteristics

·         Social situations

·         Lifestyles and routine activities

·         Disadvantaged neighbourhood and which school attended

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