Definitions and Major Assumptions

  • Glenn D. Walters
Part of the Palgrave's Frontiers in Criminology Theory book series (FCRT)


This chapter deals with definitions and assumptions. The four behavioral styles that are used to define a criminal lifestyle are examined, followed by clarification on three sets of assumptions that buttress criminal lifestyle theory. The first set of assumptions establish a universal life instinct, a collective motivator (existential fear), and two basic responses (accommodation and assimilation). The second set of assumptions highlight the overlap, countervailing relationships, and correlated novelties that mark criminal development, choice, and change. The third set of assumptions underscore the value of using statistical procedures like mediation and moderation to integrate constructs and ideas from different criminological theories.


Criminal lifestyle Definitions Assumptions 


  1. Agnew, R. (1995). Testing the leading crime theories: An alternative strategy focusing on motivational processes. Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency, 32, 363–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arrigo, B. A., & Barrett, L. (2008). Philosophical criminology and complex systems science: Towards a critical theory of justice. Critical Criminology, 16, 165–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bandura, A., Barbarnelli, C., Caprara, G. V., & Pastorelli, C. (1996). Mechanisms of moral disengagement in the exercise of moral agency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 364–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Center for Human Resource Research. (2009). NLSY79 user’s guide. Columbus, OH: CHRR NLS User Services, The Ohio State University.Google Scholar
  6. Crick, N. R., & Dodge, K. A. (1996). Social information-processing mechanisms in reactive and proactive aggression. Child Development, 67, 993–1002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cronbach, L. (1987). Statistical tests for moderator variables: Flaws in analysis recently proposed. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 414–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Doebeli, M., & Ispolatov, I. (2014). Chaos and unpredictability in evolution. Evolution, 68, 1365–1373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Farrington, D. P., Coid, J. W., Harnett, L., Jolliffe, D., Soterious, N., … West, D. J. (2006). Criminal careers and life success: New findings from the Cambridge study in delinquent development. London: Home Office (Research Findings No. 281).Google Scholar
  10. Ferrière, R., & Fox, G. A. (1995). Chaos and evolution. Tree, 10, 480–485.Google Scholar
  11. Forth, A. E., Kosson, D., & Hare, R. D. (2003). Psychopathy checklist: Youth version technical manual. Toronto: Multi-Health Systems.Google Scholar
  12. Frick, P. J., Ray, J. V., Thornton, L. C., & Kahn, R. E. (2014). Can callous-unemotional traits enhance the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of serious conduct problems in children and adolescents? A comprehensive review. Psychological Bulletin, 140, 1–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gonsalves, V. M., Scarlora, M. J., & Huss, M. T. (2009). Prediction of recidivism using the psychopathy checklist-revised and the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles within a forensic sample. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 36, 741–756.Google Scholar
  14. Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hare, R. D. (2003). The Hare psychopathy checklist-revised manual (2nd ed.). Toronto, Canada: Multi-Health Systems.Google Scholar
  16. Haslam, N., Holland, E., & Kuppens, P. (2012). Categories versus dimensions in personality and psychopathology: A quantitative review of taxometric research. Psychological Medicine, 42, 903–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  18. Imai, K., Keele, L., & Yamamoto, T. (2010). Identification, inference, and sensitivity analysis for causal mediation effects. Statistical Science, 25, 51–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. James, L. R., & Brett, J. M. (1984). Mediators, moderators, and tests for mediation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 69, 307–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Judd, C. M., McClelland, G. H., & Culhane, S. C. (1995). Data analysis: Continuing issues in the everyday analysis of psychological data. In J. T. Spence, J. M. Darley, & D. J. Foss (Eds.), Annual review of psychology (Vol. 46, pp. 433–465). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews.Google Scholar
  21. Kauffman, S. A. (1993). The origins of order: Self-organization and selection in evolution. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kenny, D. A., & Judd, C. M. (2014). Power anomalies in testing mediation. Psychological Science, 25, 334–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Krueger, R. F., Markon, K. E., Patrick, C. J., Benning, S. D., & Kramer, M. D. (2007). Linking antisocial behavior, substance use, and personality: An integrative quantitative model of the adult externalizing spectrum. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116, 645–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kuznetsov, Y. (2004). Elements of applied bifurcation theory. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lazer, D., Pentland, A., Adamic, L., Aral, S., Barbasis, A.-L., … Van Alstyne, M. (2009). Computational social science. Science, 323, 721–723.Google Scholar
  26. Lykken, D. T. (1957). A study of anxiety in the sociopathic personality. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 55, 6–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Milnor, J. (1985). On the concept of attractor. Communications in Mathematical Physics, 99, 177–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Morgan, R. D., Fisher, W. H., Dean, N., Mandracchia, J. T., & Murray, D. (2010). Prevalence of criminal thinking among state prison inmates with serious mental illness. Law and Human Behavior, 34, 324–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Paternoster, R., & Iovanni, L. (1989). The labeling perspective and delinquency: An elaboration of the theory and an assessment of the evidence. Justice Quarterly, 6, 359–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Preacher, K. J., Rucker, D. D., & Hayes, A. F. (2007). Addressing moderated mediation hypotheses: Theory, methods, and prescriptions. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 42, 185–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Preacher, K. J., & Selig, J. P. (2012). Advantages of Monte Carlo confidence intervals for indirect effects. Communication Methods and Measures, 6, 77–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rothbart, M. K., Ahadi, S. A., & Evans, D. E. (2000). Temperament and personality: Origins and outcomes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 122–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rucker, D. D., Preacher, K. J., Tormala, Z. I., & Petty, R. E. (2011). Mediation analysis in social psychology: Current practices and new recommendations. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5, 359–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ruelle, D. (2006). What is…a strange attractor? Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 53, 764–765.Google Scholar
  35. Ruscio, J., Haslam, N., & Ruscio, A. M. (2006). Introduction to the taxometric method: A practical guide. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  36. Smithmyer, C. M., Hubbard, J. A., & Simons, R. F. (2000). Proactive and reactive aggression in delinquent adolescents: Relations to aggression outcome expectancies. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 29, 86–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sykes, G., & Matza, D. (1957). Techniques of neutralization: A theory of delinquency. American Sociological Review, 22, 664–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tria, F., Loreto, V., Servedio, D. P., & Strogatz, S. H. (2014). The dynamics of correlated novelties. Scientific Reports, 4, 5890.Google Scholar
  39. VanderWeele, T. J. (2015). Explanation in causal inference: Methods for mediation and interaction. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Walters, G. D. (1995). The Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles: Part I. Reliability and initial validity. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 22, 307–325.Google Scholar
  41. Walters, G. D. (2007a). The latent structure of the criminal lifestyle: A taxometric analysis of the Lifestyle Criminality Screening Form and Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34, 1623–1637.Google Scholar
  42. Walters, G. D. (2007b). Measuring proactive and reactive criminal thinking with the PICTS: Correlations with outcome expectancies and hostile attribution biases. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 371–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Walters, G. D. (2011). Taking the next step: Combining incrementally valid indicators to improve recidivism prediction. Assessment, 18, 227–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Walters, G. D. (2012). Crime in a psychological context: From career criminals to criminal careers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  45. Walters, G. D. (2014). An item response theory analysis of the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles: Comparing male and female probationers and prisoners. Psychological Assessment, 26, 1050–1055.Google Scholar
  46. Walters, G. D. (2015). A two-dimensional model of psychopathy and antisocial behavior: A multi-sample investigation using items from the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. Personality and Individual Differences, 78, 88–93.Google Scholar
  47. Walters, G. D. (2016a). Friends, cognition, and delinquency: Proactive and reactive criminal thinking as mediators of the peer influence and peer selection effects among male delinquents. Justice Quarterly, 33, 1055–1079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Walters, G. D. (2016b). The parent-peer interface: Does inductive parenting reduce the criminogenic effect of delinquent peers? Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 14, 411–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Walters, G. D. (2016c). Mediating the distal crime-drug relationship with proximal reactive criminal thinking. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30, 128–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Walters, G. D. (2017). P M effect size estimation for mediation analysis: A cautionary note, alternate strategy, and real data illustration. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  51. Walters, G. D. (in press-a). Black-white and male-female differences in criminal thinking: Examining instrumental and expressive motives for crime in federal supervisees. Prison Journal.Google Scholar
  52. Walters, G. D. (in press-b). Proactive and reactive criminal thinking and self-reported offending: A cross-national survey of 7th thru 9th grade boys and girls. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. Google Scholar
  53. Walters, G. D. (in press-c). Psychological inertia revisited: Replicating and extending the differential effect of proactive and reactive criminal thinking on crime continuity. Deviant Behavior.Google Scholar
  54. Walters, G. D., & Geyer, M. D. (2005). Construct validity of the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles in relationship to the PAI, disciplinary adjustment, and program completion. Journal of Personality Assessment, 84, 252–260.Google Scholar
  55. Walters, G. D., & McCoy, K. (2007). Taxometric analysis of the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles in incarcerated offenders and college students. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34, 781–793.Google Scholar
  56. Walters, G. D., & Kiehl, K. A. (2015). Limbic correlates of fearlessness and disinhibition in incarcerated youth: Exploring the brain-behavior relationship with the Hare Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version. Psychiatry Research, 230, 205–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Walters, G. D., & Lowenkamp, C. T. (2016). Predicting recidivism with the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS) in community-supervised male and female federal offenders. Psychological Assessment, 28, 652–659.Google Scholar
  58. Walters, G. D., & Yurvati, E. (2017). Testing the construct validity of the PICTS proactive and reactive scores against six putative measures of proactive and reactive criminal thinking. Psychology, Crime & Law, 23, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Walters, G. D., White, T. W., & Denney, D. (1991). The Lifestyle Criminality Screening Form: Preliminary data. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 18, 406–418.Google Scholar
  60. Walters, G. D., Frederick, A. A., & Schlauch, C. (2007). Postdicting arrests for proactive and reactive aggression with the PICTS proactive and reactive composite scales. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 1415–1430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Walters, G. D., Deming, A., & Elliott, W. N. (2009). Assessing criminal thinking in male sex offenders with the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS). Criminal Justice and Behavior, 36, 1025–1036.Google Scholar
  62. Walters, G. D., Hagman, B. T., & Cohn, A. M. (2011). Towards a hierarchical model of criminal thinking: Evidence from item response theory and confirmatory factor analysis. Psychological Assessment, 23, 925–936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Weinberger, D. A., & Schwartz, G. E. (1990). Distress and restraint as superordinate dimensions of self-reported adjustment: A typological perspective. Journal of Personality, 58, 381–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kutztown UniversityKutztownUSA

Personalised recommendations