skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 98876 Find in a Library
Title: Criminological Theory and Family Crime (From Crime and the Family, P 46-63, 1985, by Alan J Lincoln and Murray A Straus - See NCJ-98873)
Author(s): A J Lincoln; J T Kirkpatrick
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Charles C. Thomas
Springfield, IL 62704
Sale Source: Charles C. Thomas
2600 South First Street
Springfield, IL 62704
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A review of three general categories of theories about crime causation accompanies a discussion of what these theories suggest about the links between the family and crime.
Abstract: Theories that focus on the individual include psychological and biological explanations. Biological theories have focused on body type, genetic factors, studies of twins to differentiate between genetic and social factors, and studies of chromosome variations. This literature suggests that criminality is genetically transmitted through the family. Psychological theories also focus on the individual. They consider internal characteristics influencing criminal behavior and have proposed that criminal propensity is a function of psychological trauma and maladjustment early in the family experience. A second category of theories focus on social structure and social process and their promotion of criminal behavior. Learning theory and subcultural theory have generated the propositions that criminality is transmitted through the family socialization process and is encouraged by families entrenched in criminal subcultures. Theories focusing on conflicts in cultural values propose that families as well as individuals are affected by cultural pressures to commit crime. The conflict theory suggests a parallel proposition: that families as well as individuals are affected by social inequality and resulting structural pressures to commit crime. Literature focusing on social stress has suggested another proposition: families under stress generate crime. The third broad theme among criminological theories is the societal reaction focus. This approach considers how societal mechanisms created to control crime may be partially responsible for causing it. This analysis results in the proposition that crime is a product of criminal typescripting within, by, and against families. These propositions are not established facts. Instead, they represent guides to thinking about the issues and serve as hypotheses. Fifty-three references are listed.
Index Term(s): Biological influences; Conflict theory; Family offenses; Social Learning; Societal reactions to crime; Subculture theory
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.