Offenders' social-cognitive skills as predictors of criminality and recidivism




Van Domselaar, Theresa Anne

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The Social Cognitive Screening Battery (SCSB; Ross & Fabiano, 1985; Ross & Ross, 1995) and three statistical control measures (estimates of educational attainment, intelligence and depression) were assessed for their ability to distinguish between participants incarcerated in a provincial correctional institution and community members with no history of incarceration. These same measures also were tested to determine whether incarcerated participants' degree of recidivism could be predicted. The sample consisted of 29 participants, 19 of whom were incarcerated and 10 were non-incarcerated. The sample was comprised of both males (n = 20) and females (n = 9) and of people of Aboriginal (n = 5) and Caucasian (n = 24) descent. Two of the SCSB instruments (Conceptual Level Paragraph Completion Method; Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal) significantly contributed to the prediction of group membership over and above that of the three control variables, which were also significantly predictive of group membership. Two other SCSB variables (Locus of Control; Rigidity) closely approached statistically significant contribution to prediction. None of the variables were significantly correlated with incarcerated participant's level of recidivism as measured by number of contacts with the criminal justice system. Implications of the results with regard to improved identification of offenders amenable to treatment using the Reasoning and Rehabilitation Program (Ross & Fabiano, 1985; Ross & Ross, 1995) are discussed.



Recidivism, Criminal behavior