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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the link between social learning and crime by focusing on social learning theories developed by clinical psychologists based on correctional rehabilitation and developmental behavioral psychology. After providing an overview of Edwin Sutherland's differential association theory and its sociological extension to social learning theory by Ronald Akers, the article examines the contributions of Don Andrews and James Bonta—Canadian psychologists who use a social psychological framework to explain criminal behavior and provide a treatment model of correctional intervention on the basis of psychological principles. It also considers a second psychological perspective on the development and maintenance of childhood aggression, focusing on the work of Gerald Patterson and his colleagues at the Oregon Social Learning Center. Finally, the article argues that given the wide empirical support for psychologically-focused social learning perspectives, social learning theory offers a more plausible explanation for criminal behavior than currently assumed.

Keywords: social learning, crime, criminal behavior, social learning theory, correctional rehabilitation, developmental behavioral psychology, Ronald Akers, Edwin Sutherland, differential association theory, childhood aggression

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