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Delinquency abstention: the importance of morality and peers
Malmö högskola, Faculty of Health and Society (HS).
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [sv]

Kriminologisk forskning har sedan länge fokuserat på brottslighet och antisocialt beteende. Däremot har en mindre grupp individer genomgående uppgett att de aldrig ägnat sig åt antisocialt beteende och avstår således från brottslighet. Forskning inom detta område har varit jämförelsevis begränsad, men det har föreslagits att individens avhållande bygger på ett uteslutande från kamratgrupper som ett resultat av dennes oönskade egenskaper (t.ex. stark moraluppfattning). Andra menar istället att det är den starka moralen i sig som avhåller personer från att begå brott, vilket är en hypotes som testas i denna studie. Det görs genom att jämföra personer som uppger att de aldrig har begått brott, med personer som endast gjort det vid enstaka tillfällen. Detta i ljuset av variablerna moral, umgänge med brottsliga kamrater och tid som spenderas med vänner i ostrukturerade miljöer. Vidare undersöks eventuella könsskillnader. Med utgångspunkt i data från det longitudinella projektet Malmö Individual and Neighbourhood Developmental Study (MINDS) har logistiska regressioner använts för att undersöka direkta och medierande effekter. Resultaten visar att hög moral predicerar ett avhållande från brott utan en medierande effekt av brottsliga kamrater. Umgänge med brottsliga kamrater predicerar istället brottslighet hos ungdomarna, medan spenderad tid i ostrukturerade miljöer varken predicerar avhållande eller brottslighet. Könsskillnader som fanns indikerar på starkare moral hos kvinnor och att effekten av densamma hos män är beroende av umgänge. Moral bör därför inte ses som en uteslutande egenskap utan snarare som en viktig brottshämmande faktor.

Abstract [en]

The scientific focus of criminological research has since long been on criminal and antisocial behaviours. However, a group of individuals reporting that they have never engaged in delinquent behaviour (delinquency abstainers) have consistently been identified and until only recently not rendered much scientific interest. It has by some been proposed that delinquency abstention is a result of individuals being excluded from peer groups due to undesired characteristics (e.g. high sense of moral beliefs), although this notion is contested. Morality has by others instead been perceived as having a direct effect on abstention, which is the hypothesis tested in this study. It does so by comparing delinquency abstainers to low-frequency non-abstainers with regards to moral belief, delinquent peer association, and time spent unsupervised with peers, and furthermore examines the effects across gender. Logistic regressions were run to examine direct and mediating effects using data from the longitudinal project Malmö Individual and Neighbourhood Developmental Study (MINDS). Results indicate that strong moral beliefs have a direct effect on abstention and are not mediated by delinquent peer association. Associating with delinquent peers did in turn predict non-abstention but spending time unsupervised with peers did neither predict abstention nor delinquency. Some gender differences found points towards stronger morality amongst females and that the effect of morality for males depends on peer association. Morality should therefore not be perceived as an undesirable characteristic which excludes individuals from peer groups but rather an important factor in the inhibition of delinquency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö högskola/Hälsa och samhälle , 2013. , p. 42
Keywords [en]
Abstention, Delinquency, Gender differences, Malmö Individual and Neighbourhood Developmental Study (MINDS), Morality, Peers
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-24175Local ID: 16694OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-24175DiVA, id: diva2:1485592
Educational program
HS Criminology
Available from: 2020-11-02 Created: 2020-11-02 Last updated: 2022-06-27Bibliographically approved

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