Self-Referent Processes and the Explanation of Deviant Behavior

  • Howard B. Kaplan
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

The theoretical and empirical literatures relating to the causes and consequences of crime and other forms of deviant behavior have long implicated what have been termed self-referent constructs (Kaplan, 1986). Such constructs comprise responses that have the self as their object including: self-cognition (encompassing imagining, perceiving, and conceptualizing one’s self); self-evaluation (judging one’s self to be more or less proximate relatively salient evaluative criteria); self-feeling (affective responses to one’s self such as self-derogation or self-esteem that are evoked by self-evaluation); and self-enhancing or self-protective responses (including distorting or selectively perceiving one’s self, reordering self-values, and striving to achieve valued goals that are intended to increase positive and decrease negative self-feelings).


Delinquent Behavior Deviant Behavior Conventional Group Normative Expectation Deviant Pattern 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard B. Kaplan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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