Matching Items (5)

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Toward the development of a multidimensional legal cynicism scale

Description

Legal cynicism, a concept that reflects how individuals feel about the law, can be linked to different theoretical traditions. However, inconsistencies in the way legal cynicism is operationalized abound. This

Legal cynicism, a concept that reflects how individuals feel about the law, can be linked to different theoretical traditions. However, inconsistencies in the way legal cynicism is operationalized abound. This study aimed to develop a more complete and psychometrically-sound measure of legal cynicism. Factor-analytic procedures were used on a sample of 502 undergraduate university students to create the scale and to test its directional accuracy. Using promax-rotated principal-axis factor analysis, a 4 dimensional factor structure emerged—legal apathy, legal corruption, legal discrimination, and low legal legitimacy. The 21-item scale has a high level of internal consistency (Cronbach’s α = .85; mean inter-item r = .58). Results from ordinary least squares regression models confirmed that the multidimensional legal cynicism scale is significantly correlated with criminal offending (β = .34, p < .001), net of low self-control and demographic characteristics.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Advancing General Strain Theory: Three Empirical Studies

Description

The main premise of general strain theory (GST) is that strains and stressors increase negative emotions, such as anger and depression, which ultimately influence coping—criminal and otherwise (Agnew, 1992). Though

The main premise of general strain theory (GST) is that strains and stressors increase negative emotions, such as anger and depression, which ultimately influence coping—criminal and otherwise (Agnew, 1992). Though there is a lot of research in support of the core arguments of GST, gaps in the knowledge base remain. For example, most researchers have focused on particular types of strains, overlooking nontraditional forms. And though the negative impact of deviant peers on delinquency is well documented, the influence of such peers in terms of coping with negative emotionality is not well understood. This dissertation investigates the relationship between unconventional strains—teenage pregnancy and low social support—on negative outcomes. In addition, this project also examines friendship networks to see whether peer victimization increases personal involvement in violent offending. Additionally, the impact of deviant peers within the GST framework is also tested.

This dissertation uses existing data from Waves I (1994-1995) and II (1996) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). The Add Health is a longitudinal, nationally representative sample of over 20,000 American adolescents who were in grades 7 through 12 during the 1994-1995 school year. Data were drawn from two sources—the in-home interview data and the social network data. Multivariate regression models are used to examine the effects of strain on a number of outcomes of theoretical interest.

The findings indicate that teenage pregnancy, peer victimization, and low social support were all associated with depressive symptoms and deviant coping. More specifically, the results from study one showed that adolescents who had experienced pregnancy were more likely to experience depressive symptoms and engage in substance use behaviors. Depression failed to mediate the relationship between pregnancy and substance use. Teenage pregnancy, depression, and deviant peers interact to amplify alcohol-related problems and marijuana use. In study two the findings revealed that peer victimization was positively related to depression and violent offending. Furthermore, the relationship between peer victimization was partially mediated by depression. Lastly, the findings from study three showed that low social support was associated with depression and delinquency. Consistent with GST, the relationship between low social support and delinquency was fully mediated by depression. Implications for practice and directions future research are discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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The Effect of Procedural Injustice on Cooperation with 911 Operators and Criminal Justice Authorities: A Factorial Vignette-Based Study

Description

Prior research looking at procedural justice has largely focused on legal authorities, such as the police. There is a gap in the research regarding the influence of procedurally-just treatment of

Prior research looking at procedural justice has largely focused on legal authorities, such as the police. There is a gap in the research regarding the influence of procedurally-just treatment of other criminal justice professionals, including 911 operators. These individuals are often the first contact citizens have when initiating police services, and it is likely that 911 operators set the stage for how police encounters with the public unfold. Using a factorial vignette design, this study tests the causal links between procedural injustice and several outcome measures, including cooperation, satisfaction, callback likelihood, and willingness to testify in court. Data from a university-based sample (n=488) were used to estimate a series of ordinal regression models. The results show that participants who received the injustice stimuli were generally less likely to report they would call 911 in the future, cooperate with the 911 operator if asked additional questions, cooperate with the police once they arrived on the scene, and had lower levels of satisfaction with the how the operator handled the call. These results were significant across two different scenarios (i.e., breaking and entering and traffic accident). Seriousness of the encounter also varied across these outcomes, but the magnitude of the effect was more modest. The results demonstrate the effect non-sworn personnel, such as 911 operators, can have on the outcome of police-citizen encounters.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Understanding victim-offender overlap taxonomies: a longitudinal study

Description

The victim-offender overlap is a widely accepted empirical fact in criminology. While many methodological strategies have been used to study overlap, prior studies have assumed that it is uniform, taking

The victim-offender overlap is a widely accepted empirical fact in criminology. While many methodological strategies have been used to study overlap, prior studies have assumed that it is uniform, taking little consideration into the potential differences within the overlap. The larger body of criminological research on pathways to crime suggests that victim-offenders also have variability in their victimization experiences and offending patterns. Not accounting for variation within the overlap has produced inconsistent findings in terms of establishing theoretical explanations for the victimization and offending relationship.

Several general theories of crime have merit in their assumptions about the relationship between victimization and offending. Routine activity/lifestyle theory, low self-control theory, and general strain theory offer insight into the overlap. Variables derived from these three general theories are assessed to test their ability to explain a more complex conceptualization of the victim-offender overlap.

Using data on 3,341 individuals drawn from four waves of the publically available National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a latent class analysis establishes unique victim-offender overlap taxonomies. A multinomial logistic regression is conducted to test how well theoretically derived variables from three general theories (e.g., routine activity theory, low self-control theory, and general strain theory) predict membership in the unique victim-offender overlap taxonomies. Additional multinomial logistic regressions are run using a split sample analyses to test the invariance of the findings across different social groupings (e.g., gender and race/ethnicity).

Comparing the more complex operationalization of the victim-offender overlap with the baseline regression models shows notable differences. For example, depression significantly predicts membership in the general victim-offender overlap group, but when taking into consideration variation within the overlap, depression does not consistently predict membership in all taxonomies. Similar results are found for routine activity/lifestyle theory and low self-control theory. Tests of invariance across gender and race/ethnicity highlight the need to consider how theoretical explanations of the victim-offender overlap differ based on social groupings. Males and females have unique risks and needs and these should be reflected in how routines and negative emotions are measured. The findings underscore the need to consider overlap when studying the relationship between victims and offenders. Implications for theory, future research, and policy are also discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Legitimacy and the exercise of institutional authority: motivating compliance with student conduct codes

Description

Perceptions of legitimacy are an important antecedent of rule-abiding behavior. However, most research on the link between legitimacy and compliance has focused on legal authorities (i.e., police, courts, and corrections).

Perceptions of legitimacy are an important antecedent of rule-abiding behavior. However, most research on the link between legitimacy and compliance has focused on legal authorities (i.e., police, courts, and corrections). To help fill this gap, the present study investigates the relationship between students' perceptions of the legitimacy of institutional authority and compliance with a code of conduct in a university context. This study uses cross-sectional data from pencil-and-paper surveys administered to 517 individuals 18 years and older that were enrolled in 12 undergraduate classes at a large southwestern university. Results from the multivariate regression models show that procedural justice judgments are associated with perceived legitimacy. The evidence also supports the link between legitimacy and compliance in that the former is inversely related to students' behavioral intentions to cheat on an exam. However, legitimacy was not significantly associated with plagiarism. Overall, findings support the application of the process-based model of regulation to the university context in regards to academic misconduct. In addition to contributing to the process-based model literature, this study emphasizes the utility of the process-based model as a guide for the development of fair processes, in order to reduce the prevalence of student academic misconduct.

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Date Created
  • 2015