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NCJ Number: 64985 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: SELF AND THE VIOLENT CRIMINAL ACT
Journal: URBAN LIFE AND CULTURE  Volume:3  Issue:1  Dated:(APRIL 1974)  Pages:98-112
Author(s): L H ATHENS
Corporate Author: Sage Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare
Rockville, MD 20857
Grant Number: 1F01MH54821-02
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE TYPES OF SELF IMAGES HELD BY VIOLENT OFFENDERS, KINDS OF INTERPRETATIONS THEY FORM OF SITUATIONS IN WHICH THEY COMMIT VIOLENT CRIMINAL ACTS, AND THE EMPIRICAL LINKAGES BETWEEN THE TWO ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: DATA FOR THIS PAPER WERE OBTAINED PRIMARILY FROM PRIVATE, EXTENSIVE, INFORMAL INTERVIEWS WITH 23 MALE INMATES OF A MIDWESTERN PENITENTIARY WHO WERE CHARGED WITH VIOLENT CRIMES. OFFENDERS WERE ASKED HOW THEY THOUGHT OF THEMSELVES AT THE TIME OF THE OFFENSE AND HOW FRIENDS AND WIVES VIEWED THEM. ANALYSIS OF RESPONSES SHOWED THAT OFFENDERS' SELF-IMAGES ARE EITHER VIOLENT OR NONVIOLENT. NONVIOLENT OFFENDERS CONSIDER THEMSELVES AS PLAYERS OF A CONVENTIONAL ROLE; A READINESS TO RESPOND VIOLENTLY IS NOT DEPICTED. VIOLENT OFFENDERS SEE THEMSELVES AS PLAYERS OF A VIOLENCE-RELATED ROLE, SUCH AS A GUNMAN OR BRAWLER. SELF-IMAGES DEVELOP IN AND THROUGH THE PROCESS OF SOCIAL INTERACTION. THE INTERPRETATIONS OF SITUATIONS IN WHICH VIOLENT CRIMINAL RESPONSES ARE MADE FALL INTO FOUR DISTINCT TYPES. THE FIRST TYPE, PHYSICALLY DEFENSIVE, INVOLVES PERCEPTIONS OF THREATENED PHYSICAL ATTACK OR THE ACTUAL ATTACK ON THE OFFENDER. THE SECOND TYPE OF INTERPRETATION, MALEFIC, INVOLVES DETERMINATION OF THE EXTREME NEGATIVE CHARACTER OF THE VICTIM AND OVERREACTION TO THIS PERCEPTION IN THE FORM OF VIOLENT BEHAVIOR. IN FRUSTRATIVE INTERPRETATIONS, THE VIOLENT ACT IS COMMITTED AS A MEANS TO MEET A PREDETERMINED NEED; I.E., THE OFFENDER ATTACKS THE OWNER OF A CAR THAT THE OFFENDER IS INTENT ON STEALING. THE FINAL TYPE OF INTERPRETATION, FRUSTRATIVE-MALEFIC, INVOLVES ELEMENTS OF BOTH PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED TYPES. THE KIND OF SELF-IMAGE IS INTERLINKED WITH THE TYPE OF INTERPRETATION OF SITUATIONS THE OFFENDER FORMS. THE IMPORTANCE OF A VIOLENT SELF-IMAGE, THEREFORE, IS THAT IT EXPANDS THE RANGE AND CHARACTER OF THE SITUATIONS AN OFFENDER MAY INTERPRET AS CALLING FOR VIOLENCE. FUTURE RESEARCH SHOULD FOCUS ON WHEN THESE INTERPRETATIONS LEAD TO VIOLENCE AND WHEN THEY DO NOT. NOTES AND REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (LWM)
Index Term(s): Offenders; Psychological research; Studies; Violence; Violent offenders
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64985

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