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Disputatiousness and the Offender-Victim Overlap

NCJ Number
Date Published
39 pages
This study examined whether offenders are at greater risk of violent victimization than non-offenders because of their disputatiousness; that is, their tendency to become involved in verbal conflicts, and it also examined whether offenders are more disputatious because of their low self-control, alcohol use, and honor-based attitudes, as well as whether disputatiousness can explain the effects of these individual differences on violent victimization.
The study used a series of regression models to examine self-reported data from 503 male inmates and 220 men (N = 723) they knew from the community who have never been arrested. The study found that disputatiousness accounted for a substantial portion of the relationship between victimization and offending (i.e., inmate status). Disputatiousness also mediated the relationships between victimization and frequent intoxication, low self-control, and honor-based attitudes. Low self-control and heavy alcohol use accounted for a substantial portion of the relationship between offending and disputatiousness. Disputatiousness and victimization were associated with a history of assaultive offenses but not a history of robbery. The study's overall conclusion is that the tendency to become involved in verbal conflicts partly explained high victimization rates among male offenders; and among men who lacked self-control, were frequently intoxicated, and had strong concerns about protecting their honor. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2018