Clustering of Endorsements of Techniques of Neutralization as Predictors of Offending Among College Students: A Latent Profile Analysis Approach

Published date01 September 2021
Date01 September 2021
DOI10.1177/0734016820962166
Subject MatterArticles
Article
Clustering of Endorsements
of Techniques of Neutralization
as Predictors of Offending
Among College Students:
A Latent Profile Analysis Approach
Thomas Wojciechowski
1
Abstract
Past research has provided evidence that techniques of neutralization may be used to rationalize
offending, and individuals who endorse such rationalizations demonstrate greater offending risk.
However, there is a dearth of research focused on how the endorsement of multiple techniques of
neutralization may cluster together within an individual. There is also little understanding of how
different clusters predict offending risk. The present study utilized data from 248 undergraduate
students. Latent profile analysis was utilized to identify unobserved clusters of stronger/weaker
endorsement of techniques of neutralization. Logistic regression was utilized to model the impact of
differential clustering to predict offending risk. Results indicated that a five-profile solution best fits
the data (low, responsibility deniers, moderate, victim deniers, and high). Participants assigned to the
high profile demonstrated elevated offending risk relative to participants assigned to any of the
other profiles. Participants assigned to the high profile reported relatively high endorsement of all
techniques of neutralization but especially appeal to higher loyalties and denial of injury. Identifi-
cation of college students demonstrating endorsement of techniques of neutralization consistent
with the high profile should be targeted for intervention. Mentoring programs that take a social
learning theory approach may be useful in this regard.
Keywords
individual theories of crime causation, crime/delinquency theory, quantitative methods, other
Techniques of neutralization represent motivations, attitudes, and excuses that are used by criminals
to rationalize their engagement in offending (Sykes & Matza, 1957). These techniques of neutra-
lization are delineated into five separate cate gories based on the form of rationalization made.
Individuals’ degrees of endorsement of these techniques of neutralization should theoretically
1
School of Criminal Justice,Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
Corresponding Author:
Thomas Wojciechowski, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.
Email: wojcie42@msu.edu
Criminal Justice Review
2021, Vol. 46(3) 326-340
ª2020 Georgia State University
Article reuse guidelines:
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DOI: 10.1177/0734016820962166
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