Attracted to crime: Exploration of criminal motivation among respondents in three european cities

Olena Antonaccio, Ekaterina V. Botchkovar, Charles R. Tittle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Using data from samples of randomly selected adults in three major cities in Greece, Russia, and Ukraine, several issues concerning criminal motivation are addressed. First, contrary to assumptions of many control theories, there is evidence of substantial variation in criminal attraction across individuals, with such attraction often being minimal. Second, direct measurement of criminal attraction is strongly associated with property and violent crime projections. Third, although variables from strain and social learning theories help explain criminal motivation, they do not appear sufficient to account for it. Nevertheless, attraction to crime appears to mediate the relationship between strain/prior reinforcement and criminal outcomes. Yet, the results show variations among research sites, thus indicating that the part played by criminal motivation may be somewhat context dependent. Overall, the research suggests the wisdom of further attention to motivation, particularly in improving efforts to explain it, measure it directly, and bring it more prominently into explanatory models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1221
Number of pages22
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • crime
  • criminal motivation
  • differential reinforcement
  • Greece
  • Russia
  • strain
  • Ukraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law


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