Criminal thinking styles of minors. Social and personality correlates
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Submission date: 2014-09-17
Acceptance date: 2014-11-20
Online publication date: 2014-12-08
Publication date: 2014-12-08
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2014;2(4):237-250
This paper presents an attempt to determine the predictors of criminal thinking styles of minors, based on the theory of Glenn Walters. The construct which is the subject of this study, that is, criminal thinking, is treated as a factor that initiates and supports anti-social behaviour. It manifests itself in eight thinking styles (patterns): mollification, cut-off, entitlement, sentimentality, power orientation, cognitive indolence, discontinuity, and superoptimism.

Participants and procedure
The study involved 114 people: 65 boys and 49 girls. The research group consisted of minors – boys and girls who were referred, by order of the court, to Diagnostic and Consultation Family Centres to receive a psychological opinion, the purpose of which was to determine the degree of demoralisation of the minor. The study was also attended by the guardians of minors. A criterion for including a minor in this study was committing an offence.

For each criminal thinking style, a forward stepwise regression analysis was conducted. Variables describing minors and mothers were included in the regression model. The aim of this approach is to identify the configuration of predictors of criminal thinking styles. In each of the models the coefficient of determination, R2, and  coefficients were calculated.

The predictors of criminal thinking styles identified by the regression analysis show the complexity and heterogeneity of factors contributing to the emergence of these cognitive distortions. Predictors include both properties conditioning the psychosocial functioning of mothers and factors determining the personality of a minor (sense of control, low empathy, low self-esteem). There is a noticeable influence of factors attributable to the mothers – variables derived from the environment (demanding, rejecting, inconsistent attitude).
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