White-collar offenders vs. common offenders: a comparative study on personality traits and self-control

  • Rita Ribeiro
  • Inês Sousa GuedesEmail author
  • José N. Cruz


Several studies have produced evidence of the existence of differences between common offenders and white-collar offenders. In Portugal, however, there is little or no empirical work on this topic. To fill this gap, a survey was administered to a sample of 137 incarcerated subjects in several Portuguese prisons, separated into white-collar offenders (n = 74) and common offenders (n = 63). For this evaluation, sociodemographic, personality and self-control variables were measured. The results showed significant differences between the two groups of offenders. White-collar offenders are older, have more qualifications and are mostly married or divorced, contrasting with common offenders, who are younger, less qualified and mostly single. Moreover, findings indicate personality differences regarding “openness to experience” in both groups. With regard to self-control, the General Theory of Crime is supported as no differences were found between both types of offenders. The results are discussed and the implications of the findings are outlined.



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.CJS, School of Criminology, Faculty of LawUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.CIJE - Faculty of LawUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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