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NCJ Number: 194422 Find in a Library
Title: Beyond Stafford and Warr's Reconceptualization of Deterrence: Personal and Vicarious Experiences, Impulsivity, and Offending Behavior
Journal: Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency  Volume:39  Issue:2  Dated:May 2002  Pages:153-186
Author(s): Alex R. Piquero; Greg Pogarsky
Date Published: May 2002
Page Count: 34
Sponsoring Agency: National Consortium on Violence Research (NCOVR)
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: SES-9911370
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study used original data to test the Stafford and Warr model of the dynamics of the deterrence effect of legal sanctions.
Abstract: Recently, Stafford and Warr identified four categories of experiences hypothesized to underlie persons' perceptions of the risk of legal sanctions if they violate the law. They are personal punishment experience, personal punishment avoidance, vicarious punishment experience, and vicarious punishment avoidance. In testing this theory, 250 students from a large, southwestern U.S. university were recruited to complete a questionnaire during the fall semester of 2000. Data collection spanned several days over which groups of students were asked to complete a survey that posed, among other things, a scenario in which each student assessed the likelihood that he/she would drive while intoxicated. Researchers subsequently elicited judgments about the situation described in the scenario, posed questions about drinking and driving generally, and elicited a number of personal control measures. Five key findings emerged. First, both personal and vicarious avoidance experiences related positively to offending. Second, punishment and avoidance experiences affected behavior by influencing sanction risk perceptions. Third, the combination of low personal and vicarious punishment avoidance strongly dissuaded offending. Fourth, prior offending conditioned the influence of punishment and avoidance experiences in a manner consistent with Stafford and Warr's theory. Fifth, although impulsive individuals were influenced primarily by their own experiences, individuals who were not as impulsive tended to attend more to the experiences of others. Finally, punishment experiences apparently encouraged rather than discouraged future offending. The authors discuss how the self-serving bias and the gambler's fallacy help to explain this latter anomalous result. 6 tables, 3 notes, and 67 references
Main Term(s): Crime prevention planning
Index Term(s): Deterrence; Deterrence effectiveness; Offender attitudes
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