Social learning, reinforcement and crime: Evidence from three European cities

Charles R. Tittle, Olena Antonaccio, Ekaterina Botchkovar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This study reports a cross-cultural test of Social Learning Theory using direct measures of social learning constructs and focusing on the causal structure implied by the theory. Overall, the results strongly confirm the main thrust of the theory. Prior criminal reinforcement and current crime-favorable definitions are highly related in all three contexts and both strongly predict self-projections of criminal behavior. In addition, effects of prior reinforcement on projected misconduct appear to be both direct and indirect (through crime-favorable definitions). Yet, the findings also indicate that the processes underlying direct effects of reinforcement on criminal probabilities may need to be explicated further. Moreover, some types of definitions may be more influential than other types. Finally, parts of the reinforcement process may be affected by socio-cultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbersor020
Pages (from-to)863-890
Number of pages28
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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