Psychological Theories Of Crime And Delinquency Essay

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The literature review “Psychological Theories of Crime and Delinquency,” published in Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment in April 2011, by Megan Moore at School of Social Welfare, University of California at Berkeley focuses on the psychological theories of understanding crime and delinquency. Psychological theories deal with identifying individual differences rather than social theories. This review identifies five important theories used in psychology, learning theories, intelligence theories, personality theories, theories of psychopathy, and cognitive and social development theories. These theories were chosen due to the fact that they have been used to explain crime previously, have been considered important by scholars, …show more content…
She begins with stating that scholars have debated this theory for a long time. In 1914, Goddard published a report stating that low intelligence causes criminal behavior. When researching IQ’s many were concerned that conclusions might be misleading about race and class. In 1977 a study conducted by Hirchi & Hindelang reported that delinquents did have lower IQ scores than non-delinquents. They also found that lower IQ scores signified that these students did poorly in school, were not accepted and had few opportunities to excel, which made these students look for acceptance and opportunities in other places. Another study found that IQ was one part of a three-stage pathway to delinquency; low IQ in combination with high anxiety and depression contributes to delinquent behavior (Moore, 2011, P.231).
Having a lower IQ causes different factors as stated above that influence deviant
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Different stages have to completed for an individual to develop the proper skills for reasoning and morals. Piaget developed the following stages; egocentric stage, the concrete operational stage, and the formal, cognitive operational stage which all help an individual think logically. Later on Kohlberg expanded this theory and connected the stages to crime and delinquency. Kohlberg had six stages of development, obedience punishment orientation, self-interest orientation, interpersonal accord and conformity, social-order maintaining orientation, social contract orientation, and universal ethical principles. For an individual to function in society each stage must be completed in that order. In 1993 Moffitt reported that “the increased rate of delinquency in adolescence indicated that delinquent behavior was a normative part of development, which peaked in the teen years and then desisted, however there was a small number of delinquents that continued to offend into adulthood and developed a pathological personality”(Moore, 2011, P.235). Several studies found that children with antisocial behaviors later turn into delinquents. They have also found that detecting psychopathology early can stable and

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