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Antisocial Cognition and Crime Continuity: Cognitive Mediation of the Past Crime-Future Crime Relationship

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 41 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2013 Pages: 135-140
Glenn D. Walters; Matt DeLisi
Date Published
April 2013
6 pages
This study examined whether antisocial cognition mediated the relationship between prior delinquency and future criminality in a sample of adolescents.
Findings from this study on the ability of antisocial cognition to mediate the relationship between prior delinquency and future criminality include the following: antisocial cognition partly mediated the past crime-future crime relationship when important criminological variables were controlled; and antisocial cognition helped shape future criminality by serving as a link between past and future criminality. Data for this study were obtained from a sample of participants, n=812, from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Through in-home interviews conducted over four waves, participants completed self-report questionnaires measuring criminal and delinquent behaviors, along with low self-control, delinquent peers, maternal attachment, and intelligence. The data was analyzed to determine the mediating effect of antisocial cognition on the relationship between past and future criminality. The analysis found that antisocial cognition partly mediated the relationship between past delinquency and future criminality. In addition, antisocial cognition was found to predict and post-predict crime on the same level as self-report measures of other criminal constructs. Study limitations and implications for policy are discussed. Tables, figures, and references