Date of Award

Spring 1993

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Tagatz, Glenn E.

Second Advisor

Ivanoff, John

Third Advisor

Fox, Robert


This study investigated the attributional style of adolescent males who demonstrated various degrees of criminal behavior. Specifically, this study investigated the effects of 1) the degree of criminality, namely, a) recidivists, b) intermittent offenders, and c) non-offenders, and 2) ethnicity, namely, Blacks and Whites on three measures of attributional style, namely, a) internality, b) stability, and c) globality. The attributional style of sixty subjects was studied. The subjects were males between the ages of 16 and 19. The subjects were divided into three groups of twenty subjects and the criteria were: 1) non-offenders--those who had never committed a violent crime and had never been arrested; 2) intermittent offenders--those who were incapacitated for a violent crime at the time of this study and did not have more than one other arrest; 3) recidivists--those who were incapacitated at the time of this study and had an arrest record of more than 10 arrests for violent crime in the past three years, and/or had been incapacitated for violent crime for two or more times for a total of at least two years and at least three other arrests. Each group consisted of ten Black and ten White subjects. The Expanded Attributional style Questionnaire was used to measure individual differences on three attributional dimensions; specifically, internal versus external causes, stable versus unstable causes, and global versus specific causes. Each variable was rated on a 4-polnt Likert-type scale. MANOVA was used to examine the effects for criminal group, race, and criminal group by race on the three dimensions of attributional style, thereby testing the hypotheses of the study. No significant differences were found in the analyses using a .05 level of significance.



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