The Fit of Theories of Women Criminality With Women's Characteristics

Merry Morash, Michigan State University
Kristy L. Holtfreter, Michigan State University

This paper considers the fit between characteristics and background factors hypothesized from several contemporary theories of women's criminality to be causes of women's criminality. Extensive data were collected through available court records and in depth interviews with 403 women who had committed felonies. Cluster analysis was used to examine the possible applicability of various theories to subgroups of women offenders. The potential applicability of selected theories to large as well as unique groups of women is highlighted, and implications for needed theoretical development and refinement are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006