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Criminology Nature Versus Nurture
by
Michelle Coyne, John Paul Wright

Introduction

The nature/nurture debate has raged for decades, both within and outside of criminology. Early biological theories of crime were strongly influenced by Darwinian views of inheritance and natural selection and tended to ignore or downplay environmental influences. Beginning with the early work of Lombroso’s Criminal Man, biological influences were dominant for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The advent of sociology, however, challenged these dominant explanations. Durkheim, Weber, and Marx, for example, each located the causes of crime not in individual pathologies but in the way societies were organized. Various sociological views of crime became widely accepted among scholars as biological theories fell out of favor. This happened in criminology as well. Sutherland, for example, argued that crime was the result of differential socialization and was not caused by individual, heritable factors. Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck, however, argued that the causes of crime were varied and multifaceted—and included biological factors. Sutherland’s view became broadly accepted, which led to the virtual elimination of biological theorizing in criminology from the 1940s until today. Nonetheless, recent advances in the biological sciences have again challenged dominant social views of crime. Unlike early biological theories of crime, the new “biosocial” criminology seeks to understand the various ways biological and environmental variables work together to cause problem behavior. Moreover, much contemporary biological theorizing examines the development of individuals across the life-course as well as issues within the life-course, such as the stability of behavior. Because many scholars now view criminal behavior as the product of nature and nurture, many studies now exist that attempt to account for both processes. Nonetheless, tension between those who view crime as the product of “nature” and those who favor “nurture” remains.

Nature and Development Theories

Nature theories assert that the etiology of criminal behavior is biologically based in genetic inheritance and the structure and functions of people’s brains and other psychological responses. Wilson and Herrnstein 1985 presents the early beginnings and approaches of biosocial theory. Moffitt 1993 presents the author’s classic developmental theory, which is based on a biosocial approach. Modern biosocial approaches of life-course theory and the development of deviant behavior can be found in Wright, et al. 2008 and DeLisi and Beaver 2011. Fishbein 2004 provides a summation of not only the science but also treatment and prevention practices grounded in nature theories. Anderson 2007 and Walsh and Ellis 2007 present overviews and integrated biosocial approaches in criminology. Pinker 2011 is a controversial text that outlines nature theories and uses them as evidence for declining rates of violence in modern times. See also Lombroso-Ferrero 1972.

  • Anderson, Gail. 2007. Biological influences on criminal behavior. Boca Raton, FL: Simon Fraser Univ.

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    A useful overview of the biosocial perspective of the etiology of criminal behavior focusing on genetic factors as well as the structure and functioning of the brain.

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  • DeLisi, M., and Kevin M. Beaver, eds. 2011. Criminological theory: A life-course approach. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

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    An integrated presentation of several perspectives of criminological theories focusing on the development of antisocial behavior from a biosocial life-course perspective.

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  • Fishbein, Diana, ed. 2004. The science, treatment, and prevention of antisocial behavior: Evidence-based practice. 2 vols. Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute.

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    This text presents the origins of antisocial behavior as well as effective theory-based interventions for prevention and treatment of individuals who display them. First published in 2000 (The science, treatment, and prevention of antisocial behaviors: Application to the criminal justice system).

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  • Lombroso-Ferrero, Gina. 1972. Criminal man, according to the classification of Cesare Lombroso. Montclair, NJ: Patterson Smith.

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    A reprinted version of Cesare Lombroso’s original work, Criminal Man, written by his daughter Gina. This work chronicles Lombroso’s positivistic approach and study of criminality that laid the groundwork for subsequent biological theories of crime.

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  • Moffitt, Terrie E. 1993. Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review 100.4: 674–701.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.100.4.674Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A classic theoretical piece classifying offenders into adolescence-limited offenders and life-course-persistent offenders. This suggests that most offenders are delinquent during adolescence and then desist upon entering adulthood, while only a small percentage become lifelong criminals.

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  • Pinker, Steven. 2011. The better angels of our nature: Why violence has declined. New York: Viking.

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    A controversial work that argues violence is declining in society due to advanced genes and evolutionary inheritance. The author capitalizes on human nature and its development over time.

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  • Walsh, Anthony, and Lee Ellis. 2007. Criminology: An interdisciplinary approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    This text presents a compilation of modern criminological theories integrated with biological and psychological explanations of the development of criminality.

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  • Wilson, James Q., and Richard Herrnstein. 1985. Crime & human nature: The definitive study of the causes of crime. New York: Free Press.

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    An early text on the beginnings of the biosocial theory and approach to causes of criminal behavior. The authors explore patterns of offending, namely who commits crimes and why, focusing on characteristics such as age, gender, race, intelligence, impulsivity, and other constitutional factors.

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  • Wright, John P., Stephen G. Tibbetts, and Leah E. Daigle. 2008. Criminals in the making: Criminality across the life course. Los Angeles: SAGE.

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    A biosocial approach detailing the structure and genetic makeup of the criminal mind and causes of criminal behavior throughout the life-course.

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Stability

Nature theories and studies find that personality and behavior remain stable over time largely due to inherited genes and traits. An early review of stability studies is Loeber 1982. Several studies find that personality and behaviors emerge at a very early age (Caspi 2000 and Caspi, et al. 2003) and remain stable in adulthood. Kokko and Pulkkinen 2005 examines if stability differs across gender. Beaver, et al. 2008 examines the stability of low self-control. Other studies focus on aggressive and antisocial behavior in adolescence (Donker, et al. 2003; Haberstick, et al. 2006) and find tremendous stability not only during the transition but throughout adulthood, especially for high-risk individuals (Vaske, et al. 2012).

  • Beaver, Kevin M., John Paul Wright, Matt DeLisi, and Michael G. Vaughn. 2008. Genetic influences on the stability of low self-control: Results from a longitudinal sample of twins. Journal of Criminal Justice 36.6: 478–485.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2008.09.006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study directly tested Gottfredson and Hirschi’s General Theory of Crime. Contrary to their theory, genetics accounted for the majority of variation in self-control. Self-control was found to be stable, and this stability was due almost entirely to genetic factors.

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  • Caspi, Avshalom. 2000. The child is father of the man: Personality continuities from childhood to adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78.1: 158–172.

    DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.78.1.158Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critical work linking the observed temperament of three-year-old children to their personality, social relationships, and crime in adulthood. This study found that behavioral patterns and temperament in early childhood were strong indications of the individual’s behavior as an adult.

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  • Caspi, Avshalom, HonaLee Harrington, Barry Milne, James W. Amell, Reremoana F. Theodore, and Terrie E. Moffitt. 2003. Children’s behavioral styles at age 3 are linked to their adult personality traits at age 26. Journal of Personality 71.4: 495–513.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-6494.7104001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An extension of the original study classifying the observed children’s temperament types and using informant and self-reports to reexamine the individuals as twenty-six-year-old adults. This work was one of the longest longitudinal studies to provide evidence that behavior and personality in adulthood emerges and remains stable from early childhood.

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  • Donker, Andrea G., Wilma H. Smeenk, Peter H. van der Laan, and Frank C. Verhulst. 2003. Individual stability of antisocial behavior from childhood to adulthood: Testing the stability postulate of Moffitt’s developmental theory. Criminology 41.3: 593–609.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2003.tb00998.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a test of Moffitt’s developmental theory by measuring aggressive and nonaggressive antisocial behavior at childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Results indicate the highest level of stability is in aggressive behavior from childhood to adulthood.

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  • Haberstick, Brett C., Stephanie Schmitz, Susan E. Young, and John K. Hewitt. 2006. Genes and developmental stability of aggressive behavior problems at home and school in a community sample of twins aged 7–12. Behavioral Genetics 36.6: 809–819.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10519-006-9092-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An important analysis of how genes and environment affect the stability of aggression across time using a large sample of twins and both parent and teacher reports. Overall, aggression appears to be quite stable and due in large part to genetic factors.

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  • Kokko, Katja, and Lea Pulkkinen. 2005. Stability of aggressive behavior from childhood to middle age in women and men. Aggressive Behavior 31.5: 485–497.

    DOI: 10.1002/ab.20063Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined whether there was a difference in the stability of aggression from childhood to adulthood across gender. Although aggression was stable for both genders, the overall stability from childhood to adulthood was higher in men.

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  • Loeber, Rolf. 1982. The stability of antisocial and delinquent child behavior: A review. In Special Issue: Early Adolescence. Edited by John P. Hill. Child Development 53.6: 1431–1446.

    DOI: 10.2307/1130070Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A review of early studies and theories addressing patterns of antisocial behavior and delinquency. Evidence indicates that children who display antisocial behavior earlier in life are more likely to persist later in life and that antisocial behavior typically increases in adolescence.

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  • Vaske, Jamie, Jeffrey T. Ward, Danielle Boisvert, and John Paul Wright. 2012. The stability of risk-seeking from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Journal of Criminal Justice 40.4: 313–322.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2012.06.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Recent study supporting Gottfredson and Hirschi’s theory that self-control remains stable from adolescence through adulthood. Evidence indicates that this is especially true for those with moderate and high levels of risk-seeking behavior.

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Genes and Personality

These studies analyze twins and use a behavioral genetics approach with twin analyses to analyze the genetic contributions of aspects of personality such as aggression, violence, and antisocial behavior. Hudziak, et al. 2003 and Frisell, et al. 2012 focus on the differences in violence and aggression of twins by age and gender. Kotler, et al. 1999 examines the effects of specific genotype on aggressive behavior, comparing a violent and nonviolent sample of schizophrenic patients to a sample of nonpsychiatric adults. Baker, et al. 2007 and Tuvblad, et al. 2011 find that antisocial behavior from childhood through adulthood was largely due to genetics. Button, et al. 2005 analyzes genetic contributions of antisocial behavior and how they interact with family dysfunction. Segal 2012 provides a comprehensive summary of several behavioral genetic studies as well as implications and directions in future research.

  • Baker, Laura A., Kristen C. Jacobson, Adrian Raine, Dora Isabel Lozano, and Serena Bezdjian. 2007. Genetic and environmental bases of childhood antisocial behavior: A multi-informant twin study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 116.2: 219–235.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.116.2.219Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An important twin study that used a socially and ethnically diverse sample of twins to examine the genetic and environmental influences on antisocial behavior. Common antisocial factors were almost entirely heritable across different informants.

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  • Button, Tanya M. M., Jane Scourfield, Neilson Martin, Shaun Purcell, and Peter McGuffin. 2005. Family dysfunction interacts with genes in the causation of antisocial symptoms. Behavior Genetics 35.2: 115–120.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10519-004-0826-ySave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study used twins to examine the effect of genes along with family dysfunction on antisocial behavior. Although both genes and family dysfunction had significant separate effects, most of the variation in antisocial behavior was attributed to a genetic vulnerability to family dysfunction, a gene-environment interaction.

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  • Frisell, Thomas, Yudi Pawitan, Niklas Langstrom, and Paul Lichtenstein. 2012. Heritability, assortive mating and gender differences in violent crime: Results from a total population sample using twin, adoption, and sibling models. Behavioral Genetics 42.1: 3–18.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10519-011-9483-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A Swedish study that analyzed variation of violent behavior by assortive mating and gender in adopted, sibling, and twin pairs. Assortive mating had moderate effects, but heritability accounted for the majority of variation. A unique finding was that gender had a strong impact on violent behavior.

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  • Hudziak, J. J., C. E. M. van Beijsterveldt, M. Bartels, et al. 2003. Individual differences in aggression: Genetic analyses by age, gender, and informant in 3-, 7-, and 10-year-old Dutch twins. In Special Issue: Aggression. Edited by Frans Sluyter and Leonard C. Schalkwyk. Behavior Genetics 33.5: 575–589.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1025782918793Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An analysis of Dutch twins at three waves in early to middle childhood that compares differences in aggression with different informants, gender, and ages. Moderate to high genetic influences were found by all informants, but the effects of gender and common environment varied by informant and age of child.

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  • Kotler, Moshe, Peretz Barak, Hagit Cohen, et al. 1999. Homicidal behavior in schizophrenia associated with a genetic polymorphism determining low catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) activity. American Journal of Medical Genetics 88.6: 628–633.

    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-8628(19991215)88:6%3C628::AID-AJMG10%3E3.0.CO;2-ESave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study from medical literature examining the effect of a specific low enzyme activity variant of the catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene on aggressive behavior. A sample of homicidal schizophrenic patients confined in a maximum-security psychiatric facility were compared to a nonpsychiatric sample, and nonviolent schizophrenic patients were also compared to the sample of violent schizophrenic patients. Findings indicate significant differences in the presence of the low enzyme activity variant between violent schizophrenic patients and nonpsychiatric individuals as well as between violent and nonviolent schizophrenic patients, affirming a positive association with aggressive behavior.

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  • Segal, Nancy L. 2012. Born together—Reared apart: The landmark Minnesota Twin Study. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674065154Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive summation and explanation of the Minnesota Twin Study and its implications for theory, policy, and practices in criminology.

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  • Tuvblad, Catherine, Jurgita Narusyte, Martin Grann, Jerzy Sarnecki, and Paul Lichenstein. 2011. The genetic and environmental etiology of antisocial behavior from childhood to emerging adulthood. Behavioral Genetics 41.5: 629–640.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10519-011-9463-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Consistent with previous research, this twin study found a strong genetic influence for antisocial behavior. Additionally, a significant shared environmental factor accounted for variation in behavior when twins were entering teenage years, suggesting that in addition to genes, peer influences have a significant influence on behavior during this time.

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Genes and Development

These studies also use twins to examine the genetic contributions of behavioral development. Walsh and Beaver 2008 provides an overview of the neurobiology and genetic functions surrounding criminal development. Barnes, et al. 2011 analyzes the genetic effect of Moffitt’s developmental trajectories. Several other studies examine the role genes play in the development of self-control (Beaver, et al. 2012; Wright and Beaver 2005). Von der Pahlen, et al. 2008 specifically examines genes and the development of alcoholism and substance abuse. Friedman, et al. 2008 analyzes the genetic contribution of executive functioning, finding predominantly genetic influences. Van Hulle, et al. 2007 observes toddler-age individuals and finds that genes have a strong impact on development of socioemotional behavior. A very recent study (Beaver, et al. 2012) directly tested the effects of specific gene polymorphisms.

  • Barnes, J. C., Kevin M. Beaver, and Brian B. Boutwell. 2011. Examining the genetic underpinnings of Moffitt’s developmental taxonomy: A behavioral genetic analysis. Criminology 49.4: 923–954.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2011.00243.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study was one of the first to directly test the genetic factors that may explain the etiology of the offender trajectories suggested in Moffitt 1993 (cited under Nature and Development Theories). Significant genetic effects were found for all three offenders, the strongest genetic impact being for the life-course persistent offenders.

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  • Beaver, Kevin M., John Paul Wright, Matt DeLisi, and Michal G. Vaughn. 2012. Dopaminergic polymorphisms and educational attainment: Results from a longitudinal sample of Americans. Developmental Psychology 48.4: 932–938.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0026313Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The first study that links specific genes to educational achievement. This study analyzed polymorphisms in three specific genes and explored their relationship with educational attainment.

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  • Friedman, Naomi P., Akira Miyake, Susan E. Young, John C. DeFries, Robin P. Corley, and John K. Hewitt. 2008. Individual differences in executive functions are almost entirely genetic in origin. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 137.2: 201–225.

    DOI: 10.1037/0096-3445.137.2.201Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study that found executive functioning to be one of the most highly heritable traits. A common genetic factor extending beyond intelligence and perception accounted for 99 percent of the variation in executive functioning.

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  • van Hulle, C. A., K. Lemery-Chalfant, and H. H. Goldsmith. 2007. Genetic and environmental influences on socio-emotional behavior in toddlers: An initial twin study of the infant-toddler social and emotional assessment. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 48.10: 1014–1024.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01787.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contrary to Frisell, et al. 2012 (cited under Genes and Personality), this study found that gender did not have a significant impact on variation of problem behavior. This analysis examined genetic and environmental influences on twin toddlers’ behavior, finding that parent reports indicate a predominantly genetic effect regardless of rater bias and child’s gender.

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  • von der Pahlen, Bettina, Pekka Santtila, Ada Johansson, et al. 2008. Do the same genetic and environmental effects underlie the covariation of alcohol dependence, smoking, and aggressive behavior? Biological Psychology 78:269–277.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2008.03.013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A look at the underlying genetic and environmental effects of the development of alcoholism, smoking, and aggression. This study affirmed the belief that addiction is heritable with significant genetic influences on variation of alcohol dependence and smoking, especially in men.

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  • Walsh, Anthony, and Kevin M. Beaver, eds. 2008. Biosocial criminology: New directions in theory and research. New York: Routledge.

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    A critical work that details how biosocial criminology integrates several disciplines such as behavior and molecular genetics, evolutionary biology, epigenetics, and neuroscience to discover the etiology of criminal behavior.

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  • Wright, John Paul, and Kevin M. Beaver. 2005. Do parents matter in creating self-control for their children? A genetically informed test of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s theory of low self-control. Criminology 43.4: 1169–1202.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2005.00036.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contradicting Gottfredson and Hirschi’s popular theory that parenting is the main contribution in developing self-control, this study found weak parenting effects and significant genetic effects. This brought attention to methodological issues and the shortcomings of not addressing genetic influences in the development of self-control.

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Brain Structure

Brain structure has been linked to several behavioral and cognitive developments. Rafter 2008 provides an overview of biosocial theories and studies that examine the inner workings of the brain. Thompson, et al. 2001 and Schultz 2006 analyze how different structures in the brain affect cognitive functioning. Other works examine specific populations such as Eluvathingal, et al. 2006 with a socioeconomically deprived population and Bjork, et al. 2007 with adolescents. Volkow and Li 2004 analyzes how drug abuse can alter brain structure over time, and Gogtay, et al. 2004 examines the association between brain structure and the development of mental health disorders.

Brain Function

Brain functioning has been linked to several behaviors and dispositions such as elevated levels of risk-taking behavior, as found in Galvan, et al. 2007 and Matthews, et al. 2004. Chugani, et al. 2001 examines how deprivation early in life can negatively alter brain chemistry and functioning. Decety, et al. 2008 also examines brain malfunctions but with adolescents with extreme conduct disorder. Raine, et al. 2001 and Raine, et al. 2005 found an association with malfunctions and impairments of specific brain regions and antisocial behavior. Ogilvie, et al. 2011 affirmed these studies with findings indicating a link between antisocial dispositions and poor executive functioning.

  • Chugani, Harry T., Michael E. Behen, Otto Muzik, Csaba Juhasz, Ferenc Nagy, and Diane C. Chugani. 2001. Local brain functional activity following early deprivation: A study of postinstitutionalized Romanian orphans. NeuroImage 14:1290–1301.

    DOI: 10.1006/nimg.2001.0917Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of deprived Romanian orphans and their brain functions compared to a group of normal adults that suggests that emotional deprivation early in life leads to brain dysfunction involved in cognitive and behavioral problems later in life.

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  • Decety, Jean, Kalina J. Michalska, Yuko Akitsuki, and Benjamin B. Lahey. 2008. Atypical empathetic responses in adolescents with aggressive conduct order: A functional MRI investigation. Biological Psychology 80.2: 203–211.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2008.09.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study that indicates that adolescents with aggressive conduct disorder have different neural responses and levels of sensitivity to observing others in pain when compared to a normal sample of other adolescents.

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  • Galvan, Adriana, Todd Hare, Henning Voss, Gary Glover, and B. J. Casey. 2007. Risk-taking and the adolescent brain: Who is at risk? Developmental Science 10.2: F8–F14.

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    In addition to increased levels of impulsivity, this study identified an important difference in brain activity for certain adolescents prone to risky behavior. This suggests that, aside from being an adolescent, certain individuals are more susceptible to risk-taking than others across the life-span.

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  • Matthews, Scott C., Alan N. Simmons, Scott D. Lane, and Martin P. Paulus. 2004. Selective activation of the nucleus accumbens during risk-taking decision making. Brain Imaging 15.13: 2123–2127.

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    Preceding Galvan, et al. 2007, this study used fMRI probing and also indicated that differential responses in the frontal cortex and other parts of the brain may be the reason that certain individuals are more susceptible to risk-taking behavior.

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  • Ogilvie, James M., Anna L. Stewart, Raymond C. K. Chan, and David H. K. Shum. 2011. Neuropsychological measures of executive function and antisocial behavior: A meta-analysis. Criminology 49.4: 1063–1107.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2011.00252.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A recent meta-analysis on the association between antisocial behavior and executive functioning that found that antisocial behavior is associated with poor executive functioning, especially with those individuals from correctional populations and with attention deficit and hyperactivity issues.

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  • Raine, Adrian, Terrie E. Moffitt, Avshalom Caspi, Rolf Loeber, Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, and Don Lynam. 2005. Neurocognitive impairments in boys on the life-course persistent antisocial path. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 114.1: 38–49.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.114.1.38Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study addressed the gaps in understanding of neurological impairments and long-term versus conditional behavioral issues. Findings indicate that individuals whose antisocial behavior begins in childhood and continues throughout the life course suffer from neurocognitive impairments independent of other factors such as abuse and injury.

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  • Raine, Adrian, Sohee Park, Todd Lencz, et al. 2001. Reduced right hemisphere activation in severely abused violent offenders during a working memory task: An fMRI study. Aggressive Behavior 27.2: 111–129.

    DOI: 10.1002/ab.4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study was the first to use fMRI to monitor brain functioning during memory tasks of offenders. Results suggest that abused offenders have reduced cortical brain functioning regardless of IQ and other mental and cognitive conditions.

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Criticisms of Nature Theories

Biologically based theories have been heavily criticized throughout time. They are often labeled deterministic and have been negatively received by those favoring sociological explanations of crime as found in Platt and Tagaki 1979. Other more modern scholars focus on faulty operational definitions of concepts and methodological issues as seen in Maccoby 2000, Taylor 2004, and a recent full text, Jordan-Young 2010.

  • Jordan-Young, Rebecca. 2010. Brain storm: The flaws in the science of sex differences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    A comprehensive critique of the methodology and measurements of studies claiming to have found built-in gender differences with concepts such as sexuality and intelligence. Although the author does not negate all brain research, she focuses on issues of definition and measurement error in the current studies.

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  • Maccoby, E. E. 2000. Parenting and its effects on children: On reading and misreading behavior genetics. Annual Review of Psychology 51:1–27.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter discusses the contributions of genes versus parenting and environment on behavior. Although the author recognizes genetic influences, she critiques the methodology and measurement of environmental influences, arguing that knowing the genetic contribution alone is not enough to accurately assess the full scope of environmental effects.

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  • Platt, Tony, and Paul Tagaki. 1979. Biosocial criminology: A critique. Social Justice 11.1: 5.

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    An early critique that came out during the revival of biosocial criminology. The authors explain the dangers of a major theoretical split in criminology and warn against the emerging conservative realists in criminology. They are concerned with a shift in focus on punishment and the demise of sociological principles.

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  • Taylor, A. 2004. The consequences of selective participation on behavioral-genetic findings: Evidence from simulated and real data. Twin Research and Human Genetics 7.5: 485.

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    An interesting studying focusing on the bias of nonresponse in behavioral genetics studies. Comparing a simulated data analysis to a real data analysis indicated that nonresponse inflated genetic effects and minimized shared environmental effects. The author critiques possible bias of previous research and offers methodological solutions for future study designs.

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Nurture/Environmental Theories

Nurture/environmental theories are essentially grounded in social learning, social bond, and the general theory of crime. Akers 1973 is the author’s original full-text explanation of social learning theory, and the more recent Akers and Jensen 2003 presents social learning in context with the development of criminal behavior. Hirschi 1969 is the original book presenting social bond theory. Hirschi’s social bond principles were integrated in Gottfredson and Hirschi 1990, which lays out the general theory of crime, focused on self-control and child-rearing. Wiatrowski, et al. 1981 is a review of the social control theories of the time, and Krohn and Massey 2005 is a direct test of the general theory of crime.

Social Learning

Social learning theory conveys the idea that behavior is learned from others. One of the earliest forms of this theory is Sutherland 1947. Burgess 1966 and Akers and Lee 1996 added to Sutherland’s nine propositions of social learning with a focus on reinforcement. Bandura 1978 presents the element of observational learning and modeling behavior. Armstrong 2003 provides a discussion comparing and contrasting social learning with social control theory, and Akers 2009 presents an updated version of the author’s original social learning theory.

  • Akers, Ronald L. 2009. Social learning and social structure: A general theory of crime and deviance. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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    An updated form of Aker’s original social learning theory that integrates differential association, operant conditioning, and reinforcement to explain how individuals learn and adopt a life of crime.

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  • Akers, Ronald L., and Gang Lee. 1996. A longitudinal test of social learning theory: Adolescent smoking. Journal of Drug Issues 26.2: 317–343.

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    This study tested the principles of social learning theory, association, and reinforcement with adolescent smoking. Findings were consistent with previous studies and were supportive of social learning theory.

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  • Armstrong, Todd. 2003. The effect of learning on crime: Contrasting a general theory of crime and social learning theory. In Control theories of crime and delinquency. Edited by Chester L. Britt and Michael R. Gottfredson, 39–52. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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    This piece compares and contrasts the different perspectives of control theory and social learning and how each theory explains the etiology of deviance.

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  • Bandura, Albert. 1978. Social learning theory of aggression. Journal of Communication 28.3: 12.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1978.tb01621.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The classic study of observational learning or modeling that became a principle component of social learning theory across several social science fields.

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  • Burgess, Richard L. 1966. A differential association-reinforcement theory of criminal behavior. Social Problems 14.2: 128–147.

    DOI: 10.2307/798612Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A discussion on the addition of reinforcement behavioral theory to the principles of Sutherland’s original theory of differential association that provides a more comprehensive explanation of how behavior is learned.

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  • Sutherland, Edwin H. 1947. Principles of criminology. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott.

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    The foundation and explanation of Sutherland’s differential association, a core criminological theory explaining how individuals learn to become criminals.

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Parental Attachment

Attachment was emphasized earlier in psychology in Bowlby 1988, a classic text providing the basics of attachment theory. Holmes 1993 provides a review of Bowlby’s theory. McCord 1991 analyzes the importance of attachment in a sample of delinquent boys and its long-term effects. Goetting 1994 is a review of the findings on attachment and crime at that time. Allen, et al. 1998 and Buist, et al. 2004 find an association between attachment and adolescent problem behavior. Perrone, et al. 2004 analyzes whether self-control mediates the parent-child relationship, finding that parental attachment has its own separate impact.

  • Allen, Joseph P., Cynthia Moore, Gabriel Kuperminc, and Kathy Bell. 1998. Attachment and adolescent psychosocial functioning. Child Development 69.5: 1406–1419.

    DOI: 10.2307/1132274Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined the relationship between an adolescent’s perceived level of attachment to parents and his or her externalization and internalization of problem behaviors and relationships with peers. Results indicated that attachment is an important construct for adolescent psychosocial functioning.

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  • Bowlby, John. 1988. A secure base: Parent-child attachment and healthy human development. London: Routledge.

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    A comprehensive explanation of the definition, function, and importance of parent-child attachment early in life and the consequences of poor attachment.

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  • Buist, Kirsten L., Maja Dekovic, Wim Meeus, and Marcel A. G. van Aken. 2004. The reciprocal relationship between early adolescent attachment and internalizing and externalizing problem behavior. Journal of Adolescence 27:251–266.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2003.11.012Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Further evidence that early adolescent attachment to parents is inversely related to both internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors.

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  • Goetting, Ann. 1994. The parenting-crime connection. Journal of Primary Prevention 14.3: 169–186.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF01324591Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A succinct review of the research findings regarding the empirical relationship between parenting and deviance. The paper highlights what the literature states and points out shortcomings and ambiguity surrounding this research.

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  • Holmes, Jeremy. 1993. John Bowlby and attachment theory. New York: Routledge.

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    A review of the work and theoretical framework put forth by psychologist John Bowlby on attachment theory and its effects on human development and behavior.

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  • McCord, Joan. 1991. Family relationships, juvenile delinquency, and adult criminality. Criminology 29.3: 397–417.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1991.tb01072.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This thirty-year study examined the relationship between parents and adolescents and how this related to criminality later in adulthood. The separate effects of maternal and paternal relationships were analyzed, and results indicated that maternal interaction affects juvenile delinquency while paternal interaction has a greater effect on adult criminality.

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  • Perrone, Dina, Christopher J. Sullivan, Travis C. Pratt, and Satenik Margaryan. 2004. Parental efficacy, self-control, and delinquency: A test of general theory of crime on a nationally representative sample of youth. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 48.3: 298–312.

    DOI: 10.1177/0306624X03262513Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of the self-control theory that indicated both self-control and parental efficacy are significant predictors of deviance. Contrary to the self-control theory, self-control did not significantly mediate the effect of parenting on delinquency, implying that parental efficacy has its own separate effect on child’s behavior.

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Child Rearing

Parenting/child rearing is widely accepted as an important part of a child’s development. Braithwaite 1989 presents a method of child rearing called reintegrative shaming. Barnes and Farrell 1992 analyzes the connection between parenting and adolescent drinking and delinquency. Forehand, et al. 1997 and Burt, et al. 2006 affirm the association between adolescent deviance and poor child rearing. Laird, et al. 2003 specifically analyzes parental monitoring and its relation to delinquency finding a negative relationship between parental knowledge and deviant behavior. In contrast, Latimore, et al. 2006 questions the impact of monitoring, arguing that it is mediated by other factors. Unnever, et al. 2006 draws similar conclusions, examining the interactions between parenting, control, and social learning theories.

  • Barnes, Grace M., and Michael P. Farrell. 1992. Parental support and control as predictors of adolescent drinking, delinquency, and related problem behaviors. Journal of Marriage and the Family 54.4: 763–776.

    DOI: 10.2307/353159Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study surrounding the effect of parental control and support in delinquency controlling for a variety of other demographic and environmental factors. Results indicate that parenting remains an important predictor of problem behavior after controlling for other factors.

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  • Braithwaite, John. 1989. Crime, shame, and reintegration. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511804618Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A core theoretical piece discussing the importance and method of parenting and teaching lessons through shame and reintegration. These principles have become an integral part of several learning and parenting theories.

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  • Burt, Callie Harbin, Ronalid L. Simons, and Leslie G. Simons. 2006. A longitudinal test of the effects of parenting and the stability of self-control: Negative evidence for the general theory of crime. Criminology 44.2: 353–396.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2006.00052.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Similar to Perrone, et al. 2004 (cited under Parental Attachment), this study found that self-control does not significantly mediate the effect of parenting on deviance. Contrary to other research and self-control theory, results indicate that there is instability in self-control during early teenage years due in part to changes in parenting.

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  • Forehand, Rex, Kim S. Miller, Robin Dutra, and Meredith Watts Chance. 1997. Role of parenting in adolescent behavior: Replication across and within two ethnic groups. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 65.6: 1036–1041.

    DOI: 10.1037/0022-006X.65.6.1036Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study that analyzed the association between aspects of parenting and delinquent behavior across ethnicity. Findings indicate that parental monitoring is a significant predictor of deviance across both groups.

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  • Laird, Robert D., Gregory S. Petitt, John E. Bates, and Kenneth A. Dodge. 2003. Parents’ monitoring-relevant knowledge and adolescents’ delinquent behavior: Evidence of correlated developmental changes and reciprocal influences. Child Development 74.3: 752–768.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8624.00566Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This four-year study of adolescents and their parents affirmed the importance of parental monitoring and found a negative correlation between parental knowledge of children’s whereabouts, peer groups, and activities and delinquency at both the first and final wave of data collection.

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  • Latimore, T. Lorraine, Charles R. Tittle, and Harold G. Grasmick. 2006. Childrearing, self-control, and crime: Additional evidence. Sociological Inquiry 76.3: 343–371.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.2006.00159.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An article that questions the impact of child rearing in the development of self-control. Although finding that caregiving models are statistically significant, the authors emphasize that the relationship is weaker than found in previous research, and they offer other important factors that contribute to the development of self-control.

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  • Unnever, James D., Francis T. Cullen, and Robert Agnew. 2006. Why is “bad” parenting criminogenic? Implications from rival theories. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 4.1: 3–33.

    DOI: 10.1177/1541204005282310Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of direct and indirect effects of parenting. The authors found that both forms of ineffective parenting had an impact on levels of aggression and self-control. Parenting was, in turn, mediated by self-control and aggression. Authors conclude that social learning theory, differential association, and self-control theories should be integrated.

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Family Structure

There have been mixed findings regarding the association between family structure and deviance. One of the earliest studies, Shaw and McKay 1932, concluded that broken homes are not an important correlate of delinquency. Murry, et al. 2007 and Boutwell and Beaver 2010 affirm these conclusions. Dornbusch, et al. 1985 and Cookston 1999 support the importance of family structure on delinquent behavior, especially for males. Kierkus and Hewitt 2009 found that only some aspects of family structure are influential in certain circumstances. Farrington 2002 presents a theoretical discussion of family structure and cycles, and McCord 2007 provides a full text synthesizing findings and implications from previous studies.

  • Boutwell, Brian B., and Kevin M. Beaver. 2010. The role of broken homes in the development of self-control: A propensity score matching approach. Journal of Criminal Justice 38.4: 489–495.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2010.04.018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An article that addressed a gap in literature examining the association between broken homes and the development of self-control. After controlling for maternal and paternal factors, the association with broken homes disappeared. Results indicate that broken homes do not have a causal link with delinquency.

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  • Cookston, Jeffrey T. 1999. Parental supervision and family structure: Effects on adolescent problem behaviors. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 32:107–122.

    DOI: 10.1300/J087v32n01_07Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study analyzed differences in supervision and deviance from children in single-parent and two-parent households. As expected, intact households had higher levels of parental supervision and lower levels of deviance. Single-father households had the least supervision. There were distinct gender differences regarding levels of supervision and deviance.

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  • Dornbusch, Sanford M., J. Merrill Carlsmith, Steven J. Bushwall, et al. 1985. Single parents, extended households, and the control of adolescents. In Special Issue: Family Development and the Child. Edited by Kenneth Kaye and Frank F. Furstenberg Jr. Child Development 56.2: 326–341.

    DOI: 10.2307/1129723Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An early study of single- versus two-parent households and patterns of family functioning and adolescent delinquency. Single-parent households had less direct control and more deviant adolescents. The additional presence of an adult mitigated this lack of control, especially for males in single-mother households.

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  • Farrington, David P. 2002. Families and crime. In Crime: Public policies for crime control. Edited by James Q. Wilson and Joan Petersilia, 129–148. Oakland, CA: ICS Press.

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    An important segment discussing the theoretical groundwork surrounding family structure and family cycles of crime.

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  • Kierkus, Christopher A., and John D. Hewitt. 2009. The contextual nature of the family structure/delinquency relationship. Journal of Criminal Justice 37.2: 123–132.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2009.02.008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study analyzed six factors that may condition the family structure and delinquency relationship. The only factors with significant interactions were age and family size. Larger families and older adolescents from nontraditional homes are most at risk for delinquency.

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  • McCord, Joan. 2007. Crime and family: Selected essays of Joan McCord. Edited by Geoffrey Sayre-McCord. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

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    A critical text detailing decades of findings regarding the correlates of family structure, function, and criminal cycles and the policy implications.

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  • Murry, Crystal L., Jimmy Williams, and Randall T. Salekin. 2007. Juvenile delinquency and family structure: Links to severity and frequency of offending. University of Alabama McNair Journal 1:87–98.

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    In contrast to other findings, this study’s findings did not support the notion that juveniles from broken homes are more likely to engage in crime. The correlations between family structure and severity of crime and recidivism were very weak.

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  • Shaw, Clifford R., and Henry D. McKay. 1932. Are broken homes a causative factor in juvenile delinquency? Social Forces 10.4: 514–524.

    DOI: 10.2307/2569899Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A classic piece that summarizes the early findings regarding the connection between broken homes and delinquency. Although generally finding more delinquents came from broken homes, the authors state that evidence does not suggest that a broken home is an important correlate of delinquency.

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Family Environment

An early work detailing the association between delinquency and family environment is Farrington 1978. Holden and Ritchie 1991 and O’Brien, et al. 1997 support the importance of family dysfunction on deviance. Amato 1994 and Booth and Amato 1994 examine parental gender roles and family traditionalism. Cavanagh and Huston 2008 focuses on the timing of family dysfunction in a child’s life, finding exposure during early childhood is most problematic. McFall 2009 provides a full text collection of theories and studies surrounding family environment and delinquent behavior.

  • Amato, Paul R. 1994. Father-child relations, mother-child relations, and offspring psychosocial well-being in early adulthood. Journal of Marriage and the Family 56.4: 1031–1042.

    DOI: 10.2307/353611Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study that confirms the importance of father-child relationships in the home. The authors analyzed the relationship between family and child relations and psychological well-being in an adult sample and found that closeness with fathers yielded happier and more satisfied adult offspring.

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  • Booth, Alan, and Paul R. Amato. 1994. Parental gender role nontraditionalism and offspring outcomes. Journal of Marriage and the Family 56.4: 865–877.

    DOI: 10.2307/353599Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A different analysis from the same sample as Amato 1994 focusing on nontraditional attitudes and gender roles. Nontraditional gender roles from either parent had very little effect on offspring. Although these parents were more likely to divorce, their psychological well-being and behavior were unaffected by the nontraditional family environment.

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  • Cavanagh, S. E., and A. C. Huston. 2008. The timing of family instability and children’s social development. Journal of Marriage and Family 70.5: 1258–1269.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00564.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study that addressed whether the timing of family instability and changes affected children’s social development. Findings suggest that family instability in early childhood has a much stronger impact on later development, especially for boys.

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  • Farrington, David P. 1978. The family backgrounds of aggressive youths. In Aggression and anti-social behaviour in childhood and adolescence. Edited by L. A. Hersov and Michael Berger, 73–93. Book Supplement to Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1. Oxford: Pergamon.

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    This important chapter highlights a classic study of young boys and their families and asserts the importance of family functioning. Findings indicate that aggressiveness in childhood predicted aggressiveness in adulthood and suggests that the main precursors were harsh parenting techniques, parental criminality, and a lack of parental supervision.

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  • Holden, George W., and Kathy L. Ritchie. 1991. Linking extreme marital discord, child rearing, and child behavior problems: Evidence from battered women. Child Development 62.2: 311–327.

    DOI: 10.2307/1131005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study used a sample of physically abused women to examine the effects of marital and family disorder and child abuse on behavior and psychological well-being and found an association between these dysfunctional factors and deviant behavior.

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  • McFall, Michael T. 2009. Licensing parents: Family, state, and child maltreatment. Lanham, MD: Lexington.

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    A compilation of theories and studies surrounding the negative effects of hostile and dysfunctional family environments on child development and behavior.

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  • O’Brien, Mary, Mudita A. Bahadur, Christina Gee, Kathy Balto, and Stephanie Erber. 1997. Child exposure to marital conflict and child coping responses as predictors of child adjustment. Cognitive Therapy and Research 21.1: 39–59.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1021816225846Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study asserts that aggressive marital conflict in homes negatively affects the well-being and adjustment of preadolescent children. Children from aggressive and conflict-ridden homes had lower self-esteem and more internalization and externalization of problem behaviors in home and at school.

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Criticism of Nurture Theories

Although nurture theories still enjoy support, the revival of biosocial theories has led to more criticisms. Nachshon 1982 criticizes methodological issues and argues for a more integrated research agenda with psychology and biology. Rowe 1994; Cohen 1999; and McCrae, et al. 2000 acknowledge the role of parenting but assert that genetic influences cannot be ignored. O’Conner 2002 affirms the same message, advocating for a behavioral genetics approach to examining the etiology of criminal behavior. Pinker 2003 and Harris 2009 challenge child development and nurture theories and assert that biosocial factors have prominent influences on the development of criminal behavior.

  • Cohen, David B. 1999. Stranger in the nest: Do parents really shape their child’s personality, intelligence, or character? New York: Wiley.

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    A must-read work that contradicts the popular idea that parents are to blame for a child’s deviance. While recognizing that parents are important, this work highlights the critical impact of biology and genetic inheritance explaining that, despite parenting, nature sometimes has its own plans.

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  • Harris, Judith R. 2009. The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do. New York: Free Press.

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    A commentary challenging child developmental theories surrounding nurturing that explains the problems with dismissing genetics and other biological aspects of personality and behavior as well evolutionary perspectives surrounding why peers may have greater influence than parents.

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  • McCrae, Robert R., Paul T. Costa Jr., Fritz Ostendorf, et al. 2000. Nature over nurture: Temperament, personality, and life span development. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78.1: 173–186.

    DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.78.1.173Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive review of previous and current research on temperament and development. The authors detail early findings as well as new findings from international studies across the globe, all indicating that genetic dispositions such as temperament and personality have a dominant effect on development.

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  • Nachshon, Israel. 1982. Toward biosocial approaches in criminology. Journal of Social and Biological Systems 5.1: 1–9.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0140-1750(82)91346-XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper serves as a commentary on the recent revival of biosocial criminology. The author explains that many of the previous criticisms of biosocial theories are also true of sociological theories, and he advocates for the integrative approach of biological, sociological, and psychological approaches to criminology.

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  • O’Conner, Thomas G. 2002. Annotation: The “effects” of parenting reconsidered: Findings, challenges, and applications. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 43.5: 555–572.

    DOI: 10.1111/1469-7610.00046Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A review of previous and current studies of parenting effects on behavior. Although the author acknowledges the importance of parenting, he asserts that a multidisciplinary approach is necessary to explain other factors such as a child’s personality and advocates for the integration of behavioral genetic approaches.

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  • Pinker, Steven. 2003. The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature. London: Penguin.

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    This text challenges the idea that human beings are blank slates entirely conditioned by the environment and advocates the exploration of inherited traits and genetic makeup that influence human personality and behavior.

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  • Rowe, David C. 1994. The limits of family influence: Genes, experience, and behavior. New York: Guilford.

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    An early criticism of the emphasis placed solely on family influences and nurture theories advocating the influence of genes and biosocial factors.

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Nature and Nurture/Gene × Environment

While some scholars oppose biological or sociological theories, most modern scholars acknowledge that both play a part in human development. Current research has focused on examining the interactive effects of both nature and nurture on behavior. Studies indicate that genes and the brain interact with environmental factors such as parenting, abuse, and other stressors to affect behavioral development. Scholars assert that this integrated approach will best reveal the mysteries surrounding the development of criminal behavior.

Development

DeLisi, et al. 2008 affirms the importance of both nature and nurture in a study tempering the development of self-control with genetic factors and environment. Fox Keller 2010 discusses the current nature versus nurture debate and reasons it continues. Bakermans-Kranenburg and von Ijzendoorn 2011 and Dodge and Rutter 2011 support the gene × environment impact on development, as does Hopwood, et al. 2011, specifically with the development of personality. Music 2011 provide comprehensive syntheses of past and present theories and studies surrounding genes and environment and the development of behavior while Partridge 2011 provides a critique of the shortcomings of this research and directions for future research. See also Simons, et al. 2011.

  • Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marian J., and Marinus H. van Ijzendoorn. 2011. Differential susceptibility to rearing environment depending on dopamine-related genes: New evidence and a meta-analysis. Development and Psychopathology 23.1: 39–52.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0954579410000635Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An analysis of the effects of child-rearing environment on genetically vulnerable children that suggests that although children with genetic susceptibility fare worse in negative environments, they also benefit more than their counterparts in positive environments, implying that a nurturing environment can mediate some genetic dispositions.

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  • DeLisi, Matt, Kevin M. Beaver, John Paul Wright, and Michael G. Vaughn. 2008. The etiology of criminal onset: The enduring salience of nature and nurture. Journal of Criminal Justice 36.3: 217–223.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2008.04.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The first study to use specific genetic polymorphisms to examine the origin of criminal behavior. Results indicate that heritable traits such as race and self-control were correlated with arrests but only in individuals from at-risk environments. Interestingly, genetic risk factors were associated with later onset of criminality.

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  • Dodge, Kenneth A., and Michael Rutter, eds. 2011. Gene-environment interactions in developmental psychopathology. Duke Series in Child Development and Public Policy. New York: Guilford.

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    This piece provides findings from field experts about gene × environment interactions, focusing on gene susceptibility and childhood environment. The author discusses how these interactions affect development of several mental illnesses and personality disorders and explains implications for practitioners and policymakers.

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  • Fox Keller, Evelyn. 2010. The mirage of a space between nature and nurture. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    An enlightened book commenting on the current state of the nature versus nurture debate that presents both viewpoints, offers reasons why the debate remains ongoing, and suggests avenues for cooperation and resolution.

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  • Hopwood, Christopher J., M. Brent Donnellan, Daniel M. Blonigen, et al. 2011. Genetic and environmental influences on personality trait stability and growth during the transition to adulthood: A three-wave longitudinal study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100.3: 545–556.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0022409Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This three-wave study examined changes in personality and stability during transition to adulthood. Results indicate that both genes and nonshared environment account for personality changes, supporting a life-course theory of personality development. Also noteworthy was that after the initial stage of changes, personality remained very stable throughout adulthood.

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  • Music, Graham. 2011. Nurturing natures: Attachment and children’s emotional, sociocultural, and brain development. New York: Psychology Press.

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    A must-read for scholars studying attachment and development. Starting with prenatal interactions, the author details each stage of childhood development and the perceptions and interactions with parents and the larger environment. This piece explains the effects of not only attachment, bonding, and environment but also brain development and physiological changes.

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  • Partridge, Ty. 2011. Methodological advances toward a dynamic developmental behavioral genetics: Bridging the gap. In Special Issue: Gene × Environment Interplay: Genetics, Epigenetics, and Environmental Influences on Development. Edited by Kay L. Wanke and Michael L. Spittel. Research in Human Development 8.3–4: 242–257.

    DOI: 10.1080/15427609.2011.625705Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Recognizing the need for more integration between genetic and environmental research, this paper discusses some of the shortcomings of current behavior genetic analyses and offers other avenues for improving the methodology of this integrated research.

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  • Simons, Ronald L., Man Kit Lei, Steven R. Beach, Gene H. Brody, Robert A. Philbert, and Frederick X. Gibbons. 2011. Social environment, genes, and aggression: Evidence supporting the differential susceptibility perspective. American Sociological Review 76.6: 883–912.

    DOI: 10.1177/0003122411427580Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study analyzed whether genetic dispositions made individuals more or less susceptible to environmental stressors and emotional responses and aggression. Results support a differential susceptibility perspective.

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Behavior

Ge, et al. 1996 examines the effect of mental health disorders, parental interactions, and genetics on behavior. Haberstick, et al. 2005 finds behavior to be attributable to environment and stability to genetics. Jaffee, et al. 2005 examines gene × environment interactions in a sample of physically abused children. Boutwell, et al. 2011 analyzes a gene × environmental impact with corporal punishment on behavior. Lee, et al. 2010 focuses on the interaction between a specific genotype and maternal interactions, as does Wright, et al. 2012, which supported these findings. Another study examining specific genes, Simons, et al. 2011, analyzes the interaction between specific gene variants and differential social conditions on levels of aggression. Moffitt 2005 presents a discussion about the direction of behavioral genetics research, and Kiff, et al. 2011 provides a general discussion of the influence of individual interactions with parenting environments on behavior.

  • Boutwell, Brian B., Cortney A. Franklin, J. C. Barnes, and Kevin M. Beaver. 2011. Physical punishment and childhood aggression: The role of gender and gene-environment interplay. Aggressive Behavior 37.6: 559–568.

    DOI: 10.1002/ab.20409Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A recent study analyzing how genetic risk factors mediate the effect of corporal punishment on the development of antisocial behavior. Results suggest that genetic risk does condition a child’s response to corporal punishment and the damaging effect appears greatest for genetically at-risk males receiving corporal punishment.

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  • Ge, Xiaojia, Rand D. Conger, Remi J. Cadoret, et al. 1996. The developmental interface between nature and nurture: A mutual influence model of child antisocial behavior and parent behaviors. Developmental Psychology 32.4: 574–589.

    DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.32.4.574Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An earlier study comparing children to their adoptive and biological parents that found mental health and psychological disorders of biological parents were associated with antisocial behavior in children of adopted parents but that this was conditioned by the personalities and environment provided by the adoptive parent.

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  • Haberstick, Brett C., Stephanie Schmitz, Susan E. Young, and John K. Hewitt. 2005. Contributions of genes and environments to stability and change in externalizing and internalizing problems during elementary and middle school. Behavior Genetics 35.4: 381–396.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10519-004-1747-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Confirming the importance of both genes and environments, this study found that while stability was due largely to a genetic component, variation in behavior was largely attributed to age and nonshared environments.

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  • Jaffee, Sara R., Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, et al. 2005. Nature × nurture: Genetic vulnerabilities interact with physical maltreatment to promote conduct problems. Development and Psychopathology 17.1: 67–84.

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    This study analyzed the interactive effects of genetic risk and childhood maltreatment on the development of conduct disorders. Results indicate that abused children lacking a certain genotype were more susceptible to antisocial behaviors, especially if they had antisocial parents.

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  • Kiff, Cara J., Liliana J. Lengua, and Maureen Zalewski. 2011. Nature and nurturing: Parenting in the context of child temperament. Clinical Child and Family Psychological Review 14.3: 251–301.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10567-011-0093-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A review of recent findings regarding individual responses to parenting. The paper focuses on predispositions such as impulsivity, fearfulness, and self-control and how individual temperament interacts with positive and negative parenting. Limitations and directions for future research are offered.

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  • Lee, S. S., A. Chronis-Tuscano, K. Keenan, et al. 2010. Association of maternal dopamine transporter genotype with negative parenting: Evidence for gene × environment interaction with child disruptive behavior. Molecular Psychiatry 15:548–558.

    DOI: 10.1038/mp.2008.102Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A recent study examining the association between a specific gene polymorphism and maternal parenting. Findings indicate an association between the presence of a specific gene and negative parenting that is especially strong for children exhibiting antisocial behavior.

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  • Moffitt, Terrie E. 2005. The new look of behavioral genetics in developmental psychopathology: Gene-environment interplay in antisocial behaviors. Psychological Bulletin 131.4: 533–554.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.131.4.533Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A review of behavioral genetics studies focused on gene × environment interactions. The author presents empirical findings and recent methods of analyses focused on risk factors of antisocial behavior and asserts that gene × environment interplay is the future of developmental research.

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  • Simons, Ronald L., Man K. Lei, Steven R. H. Beach, Gene H. Brody, Robert A. Philibert, and Frederick X. Gibbons. 2011. Social environment, genes, and aggression: Evidence supporting the differential susceptibility hypothesis. American Sociological Review 76.6: 833–912.

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    An analysis of how the interaction between the dopamine receptor and serotonin transporter genes with different social conditions affect levels of aggression in a sample of African Americans. Findings indicated that adverse social conditions increased aggression in individuals with these genetic variants while supportive social conditions resulted in less aggression.

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  • Wright, John P., Rebecca Schnupp, Kevin M. Beaver, Matt DeLisi, and Michael G. Vaughn. 2012. Genes, maternal negativity, and self-control: Evidence of a gene × environment interaction. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 10.3: 245–260.

    DOI: 10.1177/1541204011429315Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A new study analyzing how specific dopamine genes mitigate the effect of maternal negativity on a child’s level of self-control. Findings confirm a gene × environment interaction and indicate that children with specific dopamine genes respond better to maternal negativity than others with different genotypes.

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LAST MODIFIED: 09/30/2013

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396607-0163

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