Criminal Behavior: A Psychosocial Approach

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9780130918376: Criminal Behavior: A Psychosocial Approach

This volume uses a cognitive-behavioral and interactionist approach, integrating international theory and research and moving from broad, theoretical explanations and descriptions of crime toward empirical research on specific criminal offenses. Viewing the criminal offender as being embedded and continually influenced by multiple systems within the psychosocial environment, the book examines the causes, classification, prediction, prevention intervention, and treatment of criminal behavior from a social psychological perspective. The Sixth Edition presents the criminal offender as existing on a continuum, ranging from the serious, repetitive offender that begins his/her criminal career at a very young age to the adolescent-limited offender who usually begins offending during adolescence. This overview provides readers with an explanation of the elements of criminal behavior including juvenile delinquency, developmental factors, the origins of criminal behavior, biological factors, mentally disordered offender, human aggression and violence, criminal homicide and assault, offenses, economic issues, drugs and correctional psychology. For individuals interested in criminal behavior, criminology and the psychology of crime.

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Criminal Behavior: A Psychosocial Approach is a textbook about crime from a psychological perspective. More specifically, this text portrays the criminal offender as embedded in and continually influenced by multiple systems within the psychosocial environment. One focus of this book is that meaningful theory, well-executed research, and skillful application of knowledge to the "crime problem" require an understanding of the many levels of events that influence a person's life course—from the individual to the individual's family, peers, schools, neighborhoods, community, culture, and society as a whole. This sixth edition, like the fifth edition, views the criminal offender as existing on a continuum, ranging from the serious, repetitive offender who begins his or her criminal career at a very early age to the occasional offender who offends at some point during the life course, usually during adolescence.

The book reviews the contemporary research, theory, and practice concerning the psychology of crime as comprehensively and accurately as possible. The behavioral, emotional, and cognitive aspects of crime are examined, both from the perspective of the offender and the victim. The book also reviews current research that focuses on the cognitive aspects of criminal offenders, delving into their perceptions, reasoning, beliefs, decision making, and attitudes. The causes, classification, prediction, prevention, intervention, and treatment of criminal behavior are also examined.

The organization of the text runs from the broad, theoretical aspects of crime to specific offense categories. Developmental and biopsychological positions are presented in the early chapters, while social learning and cognitive aspects come later.

The book views a majority of criminal offending as belonging to two major groups: (1) the adolescent offending group, in which offending is a response to group and social pressure; and (2) the life-course-persistent offending group, members of which engage in criminal actions throughout most of their lifetimes. Current interventions are promising for the first group but are less likely to be successful with the second group unless started very early and skillfully in an individual's life course.

This edition includes completely rewritten chapters on drugs and crime and crime measurement, surveys, and data collection to reflect new and rapidly expanding research in these areas. Also added are sections on the effects of child abuse and neglect, including Munchausen syndrome by proxy, shaken baby syndrome, and the psychological effects of domestic violence on children. New sections on racial profiling, road rage, sex offender legislation, date rape, school violence, geographical profiling, and the psychological impact of burglary on victims have been added. The entire area of family violence has been expanded. More attention is given to hate crime, terrorism, stalking (including cyberstalking), juvenile justice, female juvenile offending, elder abuse, workplace violence, motor vehicle theft, risk assessment, and arson. Crime data and statistics have been updated and expanded throughout the text, and the number of tables, figures, and pedagogical aids has tripled from the previous edition.

This text is designed to be a core text in undergraduate and graduate courses in criminal behavior, criminology, the psychology of crime, crime and delinquency, and forensic psychology. The book is heavily research-based and provides a readable summary of contemporary research in all areas of crime. Most of the research is presented within a theoretical context and thematic structure to give an organized flow to the coverage of the many topics. The book's major goal is to encourage an appreciation of the many complex issues surrounding criminal behavior and to avoid oversimplified, prejudicial, dogmatic conclusions about the "crime problem." If, after studying the text with an open mind, the reader puts it down seeking additional information, and if the reader has developed an avid interest in discovering better answers, then this text will have served its purpose well.

The material contained in this book has been classroom-tested for over twenty-five years. During those years, many students have made substantial contributions to the readability of the text and made numerous suggestions for the inclusion of topics of greatest interest from the student perspective. The following students and colleagues, however, have been extremely helpful in their incisive comments and suggestions for the most recent revision: Tara Agnese, Anne Bahls, Debra Bruns, Laura Daniel, Elizabeth Wall, Sarah Brecknock, J. D. Haltigan, Nathan Michael, Shelley Schlief, Stacy Sechrist, Heather Munro, Heather Porter, Lynn Rupe, Amy Burns, and Rolande LeBourveau. Kelley Dempsey did a significant amount of the research for the sections on family violence, and Jennifer Trager suggested summary tables and figures throughout the text; their thoughtful contributions are much appreciated. I would also like to thank the many professional reviewers who have provided invaluable recommendations for improving the text over the years, including, most recently, the following: William Lloyd McCraney, Towson University; Donna Vandiver, Sam Houston State University; William J. Clark, Tidewater Community College; Carol Y. Thompson, Texas Christian University; and Carol Warner, Webster University.

I'm very grateful that Prentice Hall again assigned Karl Callaghan Mazzola of Big Sky Composition to handle the editorial supervision and production of the book (she also handled the production of the fifth edition). She is a highly competent and thoughtful professional. Very special thanks are again extended to Sharon Chambliss, Prentice Hall Managing Editor of Sociology/Anthropology, who has always been there to provide skillful guidance, prompt attention, and invaluable assistance throughout the fourth, fifth, and sixth editions of this text. Curt R. Bartol

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