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Sensational interests are not a simple predictor of adolescent offending: Evidence from a large normal British sample

By Kathy E. Charles and Vincent Egan


Full text of this item is not currently available on the LRA. \ud The final published version is available at, Doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2009.03.005.Anecdote and samples from extreme populations suggest military interests and ‘esoteric’ or Gothic interests (collectively referred to as sensational interests) are a predictor of offending. We examined such interests and offending in a large sample of normal British adolescents also considering other aspects of personality. Six-hundred and ninety-five participants provided data on their interests, personality, intrasexual competition, and psychopathology. These data were analysed in relation to self-reported delinquency using principal components analysis and structural equation modelling. While a small positive relationship between militarism and offending was found, this is strongly mediated by personality, with intrasexual competition and low agreeableness emerging as better predictors of delinquency than sensational interests alone. The assumption that unusual interests (e.g., those which are esoteric, ‘Gothic’ or militaristic) inevitably convey dangerousness or antisocial behaviour in adolescents is challenged. Those working with and researching adolescents should consider such dramatic interests in the context of personality and behavioural engagement before inferring clinical or forensic risk

Topics: Military interests, Gothic interests, Offending, Intrasexual competition, Psychopathology
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.paid.2009.03.005
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