British and Nigerian adolescents' lay theories of youth crime

PFEFFER, Karen, COLE, Bankole and DADA, Kayode (1997). British and Nigerian adolescents' lay theories of youth crime. Psychology, Crime and Law, 3 (1), 21-35.

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This study examined cross-cultural differences in explanations for the causes of youth crime among British and Nigerian 12- and 14-year olds. Responses to open-ended questions were analysed using an attribution theory framework. British children tended to use personal explanations of youth crime (75%), in comparison, Nigerian children tended to use situational explanations of youth crime (61%). There was a wide variety of responses within these broad categories, the most frequently occurring verbatim responses for British 12-year olds were "for fun" (19.2%) and "because they are bored" (20.0%) for the British 14-year olds. For Nigerian 12-year olds the most frequently occurring verbatim responses were "no home training" (27.4%) and "they are poor" (17.0%) for the Nigerian 14-year olds. The results indicate that British children tend to blame the individual for youth crime whereas Nigerian children tend to blame other persons (mostly the family) and the environment (economic factors). The findings suggest that an increased understanding of the cultural diversity in children's lay theories of youth crime is important to discussions of the nature of lay theories and their possible applications. Implications and future research directions are discussed. © 1996 OPA (Overseas Publishers Association) Amsterdam B.V. Published in The Netherlands by Harwood Academic Publishers GmbH.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
Page Range: 21-35
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 12:40
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 01:52

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