A Test of Social Learning Theory in the Prediction of Crime on a College Campus

Marissa Kristbergs, The College of New Jersey
Cecylia Lodziato, The College of New Jersey
Chris Gesualdo, The College of New Jersey
Allison Ann Payne, The College of New Jersey

Previous research has shown that a relationship exists between social learning elements and criminal behavior. Many studies have found that social learning best explains minor crimes and more general deviance rather than serious crime. The ability of the components of social learning theory (differential association, differential reinforcement, imitation/modeling, and definitions) to predict criminal behavior, both minor and more serious, will be tested. It is hypothesized that individuals with more criminal associations, positive reinforcement for criminal activities, more criminal models, and more criminal definitions will have a greater likelihood of being criminal. Data were obtained through a two-wave longitudinal study composed of self-report questionnaires administered to the student population of a small undergraduate liberal arts college in New Jersey. The results of correlational and regression analyses will be examined.

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Updated 05/20/2006