Antisocial attitudes and antisocial behaviour : an investigation of antisocial attitudes in a New Zealand non-offender sample : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the extent of antisocial attitudes present in a non-offender sample, using the Measures of Criminal Attitudes and Associates (MCAA) and the Criminal Sentiments Scale-Modified (CSS-M). Despite the recognition of the importance of antisocial attitudes for predicting criminal and antisocial behaviour, there is a lack agreement on the specific conceptualisation of antisocial attitudes. Although there is promising research using reliable and valid attitude measures with offenders, it is unsure whether these attitudes are specific to offenders, and can be used to differentiate between offending and non-offending groups. In addition, these attitude measures have been used little with offenders, or non-offenders in New Zealand. The College of Education students in the present study were found to have less antisocial attitudes than Canadian offenders, but had more antisocial attitudes than expected. It was also found that antisocial attitudes as measured by the MCAA, could significantly explain antisocial behaviour in this sample, as measured by the Self-Report Early Delinquency Instrument (SRED). Issues with particular items on the MCAA and CSS-M are explored and it is suggested that these measures may need to be modified for use with a New Zealand population. However the MCAA shows promise in explaining antisocial behaviour, and its potential uses are explored. Implications for the assessment and treatment of offenders are discussed, as well as future directions for antisocial attitudes research.