Based on data from a survey of 81 offenders and 81 nonoffenders living in Wuhan, China in 1991-92, this study determined whether the accumulation of risk and protective factors in various domains differentiated offenders from nonoffenders; and if so, whether the differing historical and cultural contexts of China and the United States resulted in differing risk and protective factors related to offending.
Significant differences were found between offenders and nonoffenders in three sets of risk factors: interest in fantasy, having a worker orientation, and poor educational environment. Six sets of protective factors were found: interest in social reform, interest in public cultural issues, interest in public order, educational expectations, educational attainment, and positive reinforcement by parents. The findings also indicated the importance of conducting comparative analyses within and between risk and protective factors. Each of the risk and protective factors had a level of influence on offending; for example, only 8.6 percent of the sample reported being currently unemployed, but just over two-thirds reported that they received no assistance in their school studies. A similar pattern of diverse levels of influence on behavior was found among protective factors. Regarding a comparison of the sets of risk and protective factors, the study found that offenders had accumulated more risk factors than nonoffenders, and nonoffenders had been influenced by more protective factors than offenders. Some of the factors in the China study are consistent with similar studies conducted in the West (e.g., educational environment, expectations, and achievement, as well as positive reinforcement by parents); however, other factors had a unique effect in China (e.g., interest in social reform and public cultural issues). 5 tables and 59 references
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