Date Approved

6-15-2010

Date Posted

11-19-2010

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Member

Stephen Jefferson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Norman Gordon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Schmitt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donna Selman, Ph.D.

Abstract

Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates per capita in the world, as well as a high rate of other crimes. With this study, I examined how factors such as income, socialecological factors of poverty (S-E factors of poverty), and symptoms of conduct disorder (CD) were related to criminality in a sample of 79 male Jamaican parolees and probationers. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 74 years old and were all of African descent. I interviewed participants using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WHO-CIDI), a survey to assess S-E factors associated with poverty, and the Historical/Clinical/Risk Management (HCR-20). My results indicate that my measure of respondents’ income was not associated with propensity for crime. However, severity of CD and an increased number of S-E factors of poverty were positively associated with propensity for crime in adulthood. Results also indicate that S-E factors of poverty mediate the relationship between severity of CD and propensity for crime. These findings provide evidence that psychologists should pay attention to S-E factors when diagnosing and treating CD. They also suggest that Jamaican officials working to reduce the level of crime in Jamaica may make greater strides by focusing their efforts on developing policies to eliminate social and environmental risk factors.

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