Longitudinal and reciprocal relations between delay discounting and crime

Christine A. Lee, Karen Derefinko, Richard Milich, Donald R. Lynam, C. Nathan DeWall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Theorists argue that self-control failure is the underlying cause of criminal behavior, with previous research linking poor self-control to delinquency and drug use. The path from self-control to crime is well-established, but less is known about whether criminal behavior contributes to self-control deficits over time. We investigated bi-directional relations between self-control assessed via a delay discounting task and self-reported crime over a three-year period. During their first, second (73.38% retention rate), and third (63.12% retention rate) years of college, 526 undergraduates completed a delay discounting task and reported on their criminal behavior. In order to maximize variability, participants with conduct problems were overrecruited, comprising 23.1% of the final sample. As expected, more discounting of hypothetical monetary rewards significantly predicted future property crime across a one and two-year period, even when controlling for initial levels of both. This study also demonstrated evidence of a bi-directional relationship; violent crime predicted higher rates of delay discounting one year later. These results suggest that bi-directional relations exist between self-control and types of crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-198
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume111
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

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Crime
Reward
Delay Discounting
Self-Control
Research
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Criminal Behavior

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Longitudinal and reciprocal relations between delay discounting and crime. / Lee, Christine A.; Derefinko, Karen; Milich, Richard; Lynam, Donald R.; DeWall, C. Nathan.

In: Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 111, 01.06.2017, p. 193-198.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lee, Christine A. ; Derefinko, Karen ; Milich, Richard ; Lynam, Donald R. ; DeWall, C. Nathan. / Longitudinal and reciprocal relations between delay discounting and crime. In: Personality and Individual Differences. 2017 ; Vol. 111. pp. 193-198.
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