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Title: The effects of shame and guilt on criminal and risk-taking behaviour
Author: Hancock, Emily
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2013
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Emotions, specifically those of shame and guilt, have been indicated as playing integral roles in determining engagement in criminal activity and more general ri sk~taking behaviour. However few studies have considered the unique contribution of these two emotions, and the effects that different forms of these two emotions may have on risk-taking. This thesis provides the first coherent attempt to look at the effects of different forms of shame and gUilt on measures of risk-taking and criminal behaviour, when shame and guilt are unambiguously defined and therefore dissociable. Empirical evidence is provided for the existence of three distinct sources of anticipated shame and guilt as deterrents to crime - Close Sources, Distant Sources and Practical Consequences. Close Sources are found to be the strongest deterrent, supporting the focus of Restorative Justice practices on these sources. Evidence is also provided for incidental state shame and guilt's association with increased perceived risk, however this is not found to translate into decreased risk-taking behaviour on a hypothetical task. Measurement of participants' actual risk-taking behaviour in two separate risky choice tasks, showed that both incidental state shame and guilt result in heightened risk-taking behaviour. This suggests that crime prevention and intervention strategies, which aim to induce feelings of shame and guilt, should be mindful of the incidental effect of these emotions, as they may have the unwanted side-effect of increasing unrelated risk-taking behaviour. In summary, this thesis provides evidence for the powerful impact of shame and guilt on risk-taking behaviour, and proposes that crime prevention and intervent ion techniques which aim to harness t his power must be informed by a full understanding of shame and guilt's many effects. Only then can the potential of these techniques be fully realised.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available