Social-Psychological Theories of Delinquency

  • Peter C. Kratcoski
  • Lucille Dunn Kratcoski
  • Peter Christopher Kratcoski


The social-psychological theories relating to delinquency causation are presented in this chapter. These theories place a great emphasis on early childhood development, such as moral development, cognitive development, and the development of interpersonal relations. Psychoanalytic theory places emphasis on early childhood experiences and how interpretations in a young person’s progress through emotional development stages might result in deviant behavior. Moral development theories emphasize the importance of the internalization of moral values and the acceptance of responsibility for one’s behavior.

Several personality inventories have been developed to measure personality traits and to identify those traits associated with abnormal behavior and those that are conductive to the development of a person who functions well in society.

Psychopathic individuals, who apparently experience no guilt feelings for their delinquent acts and display no bonds of affection toward others are thought to have experienced extreme emotional deprivation or physical trauma in childhood. Some youths who commit very serious offenses do not have the capacity to distinguish between behavior that is morally and legally acceptable and behavior that is wrong. Typically, these children will be treated by either mental health or child service agencies.


Personality Personality traits Psychoanalytic theory Moral development Cognitive development. Psychopath Sociopath Character disorders 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter C. Kratcoski
    • 1
  • Lucille Dunn Kratcoski
    • 2
  • Peter Christopher Kratcoski
    • 3
  1. 1.Sociology/Justice StudiesKent State UniversityTallmadgeUSA
  2. 2.TallmadgeUSA
  3. 3.Williams, Welser & Kratcoski LLCKentUSA

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