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Evaluating script-like knowledge in offenders and a small group of non-apprehended offenders

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The offending behaviour patterns exhibited by habitual or repeat offenders of burglary have been interpreted within the theoretical framework provided by script theory. This investigation sought to evaluate the applicability of this theory in a number of theoretically interesting groups. First, we contrasted the sets of actions for a burglary generated by groups of adjudicated offenders from two age cohorts (Study 1: 16–18 years; Study 2: 23–58 years) with matched groups of non-offenders. Second, the actions sequences, generated by adjudicated offenders was contrasted with those generated by a select group of non-apprehended offenders, who had evaded the criminal justice system throughout their extensive adult lives of crime (Study 3). Each study made use of novel analytical techniques to reveal striking within-group consistencies in reported action sets of adjudicated offenders; and marked between-group differences in the action sequences of adjudicated and non-apprehended offenders.

Keywords: age; burglary; lag-sequential analysis; log–linear analysis; scripts

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Psychology,Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2013


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