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Interrelated harms: Examining the associations between victimization, accidents, and criminal behavior

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Problem. This study investigated the existence of positive associations between criminal behavior (‘offending'), traffic accidents, falls and tripping, and being the victim of a crime. The motivation for the study was that the finding of positive associations would support the thesis that there may exist a broad behavioral trait, such as a tendency to take risks, which links criminal behavior to diverse negative outcomes. Method. To investigate these issues, data were used from a national sample of the Dutch population. The data were analyzed with the uniform association model. We controlled for age, gender and various socioeconomic variables. Results. The results show that there are relatively strong interrelationships between every one of the four concepts, with only minor qualifications. The weakest relationship was found between falling/tripping and being the victim of a personal or violent crime, with an odds ratio of 1.7. The other interrelationships produced higher odds ratios. Conclusions. Although research relating personality characteristics to accidents has not been common, we conclude that our findings support the idea that there may be a personality factor, such as risk-taking or low self-control, underlying offending behaviors as well as behaviors increasing the likelihood of accidents and crime victimization. Implications for prevention and treatment are also discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2001

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