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NCJ Number: 201866 Find in a Library
Title: Psychology of Fear of Crime: Conceptual and Methodological Perspectives
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:43  Issue:3  Dated:Summer 2003  Pages:600-614
Author(s): Ute Gabriel; Werner Greve
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 15
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This paper applies the psychological concepts of emotions, notably the state/trait distinction and the notion of emotions as involving multiple components, to the fear of crime thus providing the outlines of a psychological conception of fear of crime.
Abstract: The authors first discuss the conceptual structure of fear of crime, focusing on the conceptual and empirical links between the fear of crime as a state on the one hand, and as a disposition on the other hand. Recent psychological approaches consider emotions to be affective states characterized by responses that include physiological, behavioral-expressive, and subjective facets. The state of fear of crime is thus assumed to be multidimensional; the multidimensional approach is applied to fear of crime as a trait. The discussion then turns to the specific object of fear, the concept of crime. The authors discuss the methodological consequences of this conceptualization, particularly regarding the assessment of fear of crime. Common explanations for fear of crime are then discussed in the terms of the authors' conceptualization. The authors argue that affect, cognition, and motive are necessary conditions for a state to be labeled as "fear." If this state is correctly diagnosed, all three components must exceed a threshold value. Fear would then consist of the individual's cognitive perception of being threatened, a corresponding affective experience, and an appropriate motive or action tendency. Thus, there is a need to investigate whether these three components can occur independently; and, if so, whether any other combinations could also be labeled "fear." As a logical consequence of this discussion on fear, the authors argue that the dispositional fear of crime can be assessed by measuring the disposition to each of the three components identified. This can be done by assessing the frequency with which the situation fear of crime is experienced. To determine affect, the question might be, "How often do you feel afraid of . . .?" To measure cognition, the question might be, "How often do you think something is about to happen?" To measure behavior, the question might be, "How often do you behave "fearfully," for example . . .?" 65 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Fear of crime; Psychological research; Psychological theories; Psychological victimization effects; Public Opinion of Crime
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