Event Title

Willingness to Commit Crimes in Relation to Prior Crime Exposure and Personality

Poster Number

063

Session Title

Crime and Political Issues

Document Type

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor

Tara J. Collins, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Description

The main objective of the present project was to study the correlation between exposure to crime in childhood and adolescence, with other weighing factors such as childhood adversities, socioeconomic status, personality, and the acts of criminal behavior in adulthood. 191 individuals participated through an online survey assessing their exposure to criminal behavior in childhood and their willingness to commit crimes in adulthood. Crime was measured by assessing the participants’ frequency of witnessing or experiencing crime. Childhood adversities assessed the frequency with which participants experienced those different adversities in their lives. Socioeconomic status was measured to assess the socioeconomic categories the participants fit into in childhood, as well as parental education levels and levels of consistency of legal guardianship in the home. Simple demographic questions were then asked, such as age, race, and gender. It was found that the main hypothesis of exposure to crime had a positive correlation. It was also found that psychological childhood adversities did have a significant correlation to willingness to commit crimes; however, the other childhood adversities such as physical, household substance abuse, and criminal behavior in the home did not. The only personality trait that yielded a positive correlation was conscientiousness; the other four traits did not hold statistical significance. It can be concluded that exposure to crime or criminal behavior in childhood and adolescence does predict an increased likelihood of willingness to commit crimes in adulthood. This can also be due to other factors such as personality type, gender, or childhood adversities.

Previously Presented/Performed?

Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2020; Sixth Annual Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (SOURCE), Winthrop University, April 2020

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Apr 24th, 12:00 AM

Willingness to Commit Crimes in Relation to Prior Crime Exposure and Personality

The main objective of the present project was to study the correlation between exposure to crime in childhood and adolescence, with other weighing factors such as childhood adversities, socioeconomic status, personality, and the acts of criminal behavior in adulthood. 191 individuals participated through an online survey assessing their exposure to criminal behavior in childhood and their willingness to commit crimes in adulthood. Crime was measured by assessing the participants’ frequency of witnessing or experiencing crime. Childhood adversities assessed the frequency with which participants experienced those different adversities in their lives. Socioeconomic status was measured to assess the socioeconomic categories the participants fit into in childhood, as well as parental education levels and levels of consistency of legal guardianship in the home. Simple demographic questions were then asked, such as age, race, and gender. It was found that the main hypothesis of exposure to crime had a positive correlation. It was also found that psychological childhood adversities did have a significant correlation to willingness to commit crimes; however, the other childhood adversities such as physical, household substance abuse, and criminal behavior in the home did not. The only personality trait that yielded a positive correlation was conscientiousness; the other four traits did not hold statistical significance. It can be concluded that exposure to crime or criminal behavior in childhood and adolescence does predict an increased likelihood of willingness to commit crimes in adulthood. This can also be due to other factors such as personality type, gender, or childhood adversities.