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NCJ Number: 220378 Find in a Library
Title: Examining the Relationship Between Low Empathy and Self-Reported Offending
Journal: Legal and Criminological Psychology  Volume:12  Issue:Part 2  Dated:September 2007  Pages:265-286
Author(s): Darrick Jolliffe; David P. Farrington
Date Published: September 2007
Page Count: 22
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This paper reports the results of a study comparing measures of cognitive and affective empathy to self-reported offending in a group of adolescents.
Abstract: In line with expectation and theory, there was a clear tendency for males who reported committing offenses to score lower on measures of empathy than those who did not, but this was not the case with females. However, there were variations in the relationship between empathy and prevalence depending on the type of offense and gender. More research comparing the empathy of males and females with self-reports of offending is needed. Also, more research is needed to investigate whether the relationship between low empathy and self-reported offending holds independent of other factors previously found to be associated with offending, such as low intelligence and low socioeconomic status. Empathy is commonly defined as an affective trait which facilitates the experience of another person’s emotions. However, it has also been defined as a cognitive ability which facilitates the understanding of another’s emotions. The hypothesized relationship between low empathy and antisocial behavior is often invoked in psychological and criminological research. Most empirical research on the relationship between empathy and antisocial behavior has focused on criminal behavior. This paper compares self-reported offending with empathy in a sample of 720 adolescents, both male and female from 3 schools in the United Kingdom. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Offender attitudes
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Adolescent females; Adolescent males; Developmental criminology; Offender profiles; Psychological evaluation
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