ARE SOME PEOPLE CRIME‐PRONE? REPLICATIONS OF THE PERSONALITY‐CRIME RELATIONSHIP ACROSS COUNTRIES, GENDERS, RACES, AND METHODS

AVSHALOM CASPI, TERRIE E. MOFFITT, PHIL A. SILVA, MAGDA STOUTHAMER‐LOEBER, ROBERT F. KRUEGER, PAMELA S. SCHMUTTE

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292 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined the relation between personality traits and crime in two studies. In New Zealand we studied 18‐year‐old males and females from an entire birth cohort. In Pittsburgh we studied an ethnically diverse group of 12‐ and 13‐year‐old boys. In both studies we gathered multiple and independent measures of personality and delinquent involvement. The personality correlates of delinquency were robust in different nations, in different age cohorts, across gender, and across race: greater delinquent participation was associated with a personality configuration characterized by high Negative Emotionality and weak Constraint. We suggest that when Negative Emotionality (the tendency to experience aversive affective states) is accompanied by weak Constraint (difficulty in impulse control), negative emotions may be translated more readily into antisocial acts. We review additional evidence about the developmental origins and consequences of this personality configuration and discuss its implications for theories about antisocial behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-196
Number of pages34
JournalCriminology
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1994

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