Boduszek, Daniel, Adamson, Gary, Shevlin, Mark and Hyland, Philip (2012) The Role of Personality in the Relationship between Criminal Social Identity and Criminal Thinking Style within a Sample of Prisoners with Learning Difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, 3 (1). pp. 12-24. ISSN 2042-0927

Purpose – Social Identity Theory proposes that identity and thinking style are strongly related. Research also suggests that the process of depersonalization is responsible for shifting from personal identity to social identity and assimilating group attitudes. The purpose of this study is to investigate the nature of personality in the relationship between criminal social identity and criminal thinking style.

Design/methodology/approach – The Measure of Criminal Attitudes, the Measure of Criminal Social Identity, and The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire was administrated to a sample of recidivistic male prisoners with learning difficulties (n=312).

Findings – Sequential moderated multiple regression analyses indicated the unique main effect of extraversion, psychoticism, in-group affect, and in-group ties on criminal thinking style. In terms of the moderating role of personality, the in-group affect was more strongly associated with criminal thinking for low levels of extraversion, whereas high levels of extraversion moderated the positive relationship between in-group ties and criminal thinking style.

Originality/value – The findings provide the first empirical support for the moderating role of personality in the relationship between criminal identity and criminal thinking style of offenders with learning difficulties

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