Boduszek, Daniel and Hyland, Philip (2011) The Theoretical Model of Criminal Social Identity: Psycho-social Perspective. International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, 4 (1). pp. 604-615. ISSN 1916-2782

Individuals become criminals because of the presence of a persistent criminal identity which has its origin in processes of negative social comparisons carried out by individuals who have failed in their pro-social roles and have exhibited non-conforming behaviour, aggravated and compounded by contextual factors such as a dysfunctional family environment and/or the presence of criminal peers. Development of a criminal identity might be influenced by representations of known criminals which are stored in memory system, and are made accessible due to relevant situational cues. This is consistent with the concept of multiple social identities which postulates that as a person’s social context changes, corresponding social identity changes are likely to occur as a result of the activation of situation-specific schemas.

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