Comments on personality and delinquency

H. J. Eysenck1
1Institute of Psychiatry, United Kingdom
Cite this article:  Eysenck, H. J. (1977). Comments on personality and delinquency. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 5(1), 169-170.

Volume 5 Issue 1 | e154 | Published: February 1977 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1977.5.1.169

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The paper by Forrest(1977) in this issue, is of such high quality that I would not wish any of my remarks to be taken as criticisms of the design, execution or analysis of the study. My comments reflect rather a puzzlement over certain facts which have become apparent in the course of the many studies carried out in the attempt to find personality correlates of delinquency. The most apparent of these is the notable difference in outcome between studies otherwise largely comparable. Thus Forrest fails to find evidence of implication for E and N in most of his comparisons; yet, in a very similar sample, Foggitt (1974) found loadings of 0.44 for E and 0.42 for N on a general delinquency factor embracing all the major criminal activities of the sample! It is of course true that results always seem somewhat clearer with children or with adults; adolescents seem to give less clear-cut results, perhaps because of the differential effects of sexual maturation. Feldman (1977) reviews the literature on the relationship between personality and crime and comes to the conclusion, well supported by the evidence, that my theoretical predictions are much better supported by self-report studies of criminality than by studies using institutionalized samples, or samples otherwise under police control. It is a little hard to follow Forrest's arguments about psychoticism; much of what he says in criticism should be checked against the large body of factual material published since his article was written in Eysenck and Eysenck's (1976) book.
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