SAGE Journal Articles

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Petkovesek, M. A., & Boutwell, B. B. (2014). Childhood intelligence and the emergence of low self-control. Criminal Justice and Behavior. Prepublished June 24, 2014. doi:10.1177/0093854814537812

Self-control represents, perhaps, one of the most robust predictors of antisocial behavior uncovered by behavioral scientists. What remains more unclear, however, are the exact sources of individual differences in levels of self-control. Emergent evidence along these lines is beginning to suggest that levels of intelligence--another robust correlate of antisocial behavior--may play an important role in predicting the development of self-control. Moreover, the influence of intelligence may begin to manifest very early in development. Building on prior work, the current study seeks to explore the role of intelligence in predicting levels of self-control in children. Our findings suggest that higher levels of intelligence predict higher levels of self-control beyond other traditional criminological and sociological variables including parenting practices and parental levels of self-control. These findings further underscore the relevance of intellectual functioning for a host of impactful traits in humans.

Mears, D. P., Mancini, C., & Stewart, E. A. (2009). Whites’ concern about crime: The effects of interracial contact. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 46(4)524–552.

In recent decades, crime has emerged as a prominent policy focus nationally. Accordingly, a large literature on public views about crime has developed, one strand of which highlights the racialization of crime as a factor central to public opinion and policy discourse. Drawing on this work and studies on the effects of interracial contact, the authors seek to advance theory and research on public opinion about crime. To this end, they draw on data from an ABC News and Washington Post poll to test competing hypotheses about the effects of interracial friendship among Whites on concern about local and national crime. The results suggest that interracial contact increases concern about crime among urban Whites. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for theory, research, and policy.

Wright, K. A., Pratt, T. C., & DeLisi, M. (2008). Examining offending specialization in a sample of male multiple homicide offenders. Homicide Studies, 12(4), 381–398.

The American public’s fascination with multiple homicide offenders--individuals who seemingly transcend the heinousness of “regular” homicide offenders because of their multiple victims--has grown during the past few decades. Such growth has not, however, been matched by a proportional increase in serious scholarly attention concerning whether those who kill repeatedly are, or are not, “generally” deviant. As a way of moving beyond this problem, the current analysis builds on recent work concerning multiple homicide offenders to investigate the degree to which such offenders are, in fact, more specialized in their offending careers than are other homicide offenders. The implications for continued theoretical development and empirical research are discussed.

Henson, B., Reyns, B. W., Klahm, C. F. IV, & Frank, J. (2010). Do good recruits make good cops? Problems predicting and measuring academy and street-level success. Police Quarterly, 13(1)5–26.

The purpose of this study is to extend White’s analysis predicting successful police recruit performance during academy training. Using police personnel data collected on 486 officers hired between 1996 and 2006 by a Midwestern police department, the authors examine characteristics related to academy success as well as active police service. The results show that most demographic and experience variables did not predict academy or active service success. However, White recruits and those scoring higher on the civil service exam consistently performed better on multiple academy outcome measures than their counterparts. In addition, those scoring higher on the overall academy success measure generally received better evaluations from their superiors. The results also show that higher education is not related to any of the measures of academy or on the job success used in these analyses.