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Title: Socio-cognitive determinants of offending behaviour
Author: Spenser, Karin A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 9339
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2017
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Prosociality is considered important in the study of offenders and offending behaviours. This is explained by the belief that the risk of offending is lowered if a person is possessed of certain prosocial skills. As a consequence HM Prison and Probation Service has developed several rehabilitative interventions aimed at improving these skills in offenders. However, despite the recognition that psychometric measurements can provide an understanding of individual cognitive abilities, the most recently developed programme does not currently require potential participants to be pre-screened for these skills. Across four separate studies the overriding aim of this thesis was to establish if certain individual prosocial abilities should be considered when designing new, or when making refinements to existing, interventions aimed at addressing recidivism. To do this, four hundred participants (comprising male and female, offenders and non-offenders) completed seven questionnaires, measuring abilities in Theory of Mind, Empathic Understanding, Moral Reasoning, Executive Functioning (as determined by Working Memory, Cognitive Flexibility, and Inhibitory Control), and levels of Social Capital. Study 1 focused on the influence of age on the development of prosociality and concluded that it may not be a limiting factor. Study 2 addressed the issue of gender and observed that differences could be detected in specific prosocial skills. Study 3 noted the influence of prosociality on Social Capital, but found no difference in perceived levels between offenders and non-offenders. Finally study 4 offered additional insight into the assessment of prosociality by noting the predictive abilities of Executive Functioning. Whilst each study adds to the theoretical knowledge surrounding the constructs of prosocial and offending behaviours, the findings may also be of interest to those involved in the designing or delivering of rehabilitative programmes aimed at improving prosocial abilities, thus benefiting society in the goal of lowering levels of recidivism in the UK.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available