Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Eric Dahlen

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Jon T. Mandracchia

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Melanie Leuty

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Abstract

More than 75% of prison inmates are arrested for a new crime within five years of being released from prison. Known as recidivism, this trend of repeated criminal activity accounts for more than half of annual prison admissions, and rehabilitative programs demonstrate varying degrees of success in reducing recidivism. Andrews, Bonta, and Hoge (1990) demonstrated that offenders are less likely to recidivate when they receive services that match their assessed level of risk factors (e.g., history of violence), intervention needs (e.g., mental health diagnosis), and responsivity (e.g., ideal learning environment). Criminogenic cognition, mental events (e.g., thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs) often exhibited by criminal offenders and thought to promote antisocial behavior, are among the greatest needs that must be addressed to decrease recidivism; however, the distinction between thought content and thought process is not sufficiently clear in the literature. The current study aimed to distinguish these two domains of criminogenic cognition and examine their relationship to one another. Specifically, four common measures of criminogenic thinking and attitudes were compared. Correlational analyses provided support for the prediction that the two constructs are related yet quantitatively distinct. Problems with the data prevented the successful completion of the primary data analysis, leading to inconclusive results. Possible explanations for these results and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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