General Theory of Crime and Perceptions of Women and Sex: A Comparative Analysis of Sex Offenders and Non-Sex Offenders

Shawna Cleary, University of Central Oklahoma
Michael Willis, University of Central Oklahoma

Sexual assault has long been regarded by Americans as one of the most serious violent crimes. While many studies have been done on sexual assault, relatively few have included sex offenders. The purpose of this study is to find out whether the behavior of sex offenders adheres to that predicted by Gottfredson and Hirschi in their General Theory of Crime (1990). In addition, we consider the respondents' perceptions concerning women's sexual behaviors and attitudes. An analytical comparison was drawn between non-sex offenders (n=94) and sex offenders (n=201) residing in two medium security Oklahoma prisons on measures of self-control and criminal offending. This study utilized adaptations of the Grasmick scale, the Burt rape myth scale, and Scully and Marolla's interpersonal violence and perceptions of women and sex scales to determine offender attitudes regarding sexual assault and levels of self-control. Consideration is also given to the reliability of the Grasmick scale as a measure of self-control and the applicability of the General Theory of Crime to an offender population.

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Updated 05/20/2006