You are here

Delays in shipping: Due to current delays in our warehouse shipping services, please expect longer than usual delivery times for any print book orders. If you need access to content immediately, please consider ordering a digital product. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

If you need further assistance please visit our Contact us page for further information. 

Crime in a Psychological Context

Crime in a Psychological Context
From Career Criminals to Criminal Careers

August 2011 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This engaging book presents a contextual psychological interpretation of crime. It covers essential topics including psychopathy, antisocial personality disorder, and criminal lifestyle. The author's compelling analysis explains criminal behavior, by showing how the criminal lifestyle is capable of integrating two seemingly incompatible crime paradigms: the career criminal paradigm and the criminal career paradigm. Starting with a context for criminality, and then moving from particular conceptions of crime to more evidence-based theories, this volume challenges students to think in a different way about crime and criminal behavior.

1. Understanding Crime: The Prime Context


In Context

The Organization of this Book


Key Terms and Concepts

2. Latent Structure: The Criminal Lifestyle in a Dimensional Context
The Self Mutilator

What is Latent Structure?

The Taxometric Method

Identifying the Number of Dimensions

Behavioral Dimensions of a Criminal Lifestyle

Cognitive Dimensions of a Criminal Lifestyle

Why Should We Care About Latent Structure?


Key Terms and Concepts

3. Classification: The Criminal Lifestyle in a Diagnostic Context
Mr. Consistency

Diagnostic Functions

Essentials of Categorical Diagnosis

Essentials of Dimensional Diagnosis

Constructing a Dimensional Diagnosis for the Criminal Lifestyle

Analyzing Trends and Identifying Patterns


Key Terms and Concepts

4. Assessment: The Criminal Lifestyle in an Appraisal Context
Tuesday’s Child

Clinical Forensic Psychology

Construct Assessment

Risk Assessment

Broad-Band Clinical Forensic Assessment Instruments

Narrow-Band Clinical Forensic Assessment Instruments

Clinical Forensic Evaluation of Grace


Key Terms and Concepts

5. Development or Propensity: The Criminal Lifestyle in an Etiological Context
Born Under a Bad Sign

Development versus Propensity in Explaining Crime

A Lifestyle Theory of Crime

Jerry Revisited: A Developmental Analysis


Key Terms and Concepts

6: Phenomenology: The Criminal Lifestyle in a Subjective Context
Married to the Mob


Responses to the Ten Questions


Key Terms and Concepts

7. Intervention: The Criminal Lifestyle in a Programmatic Context
The Boxer

Programmed Intervention

Unassisted Change

The “Nothing Works” Controversy

Finding a Philosophy

Implementing the Program

Evaluating the Outcome


Key Terms and Concepts

8. Prevention: The Criminal Lifestyle in a High Risk Youth Context
Dennis the Menace

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Prevention

The Lifestyle Approach to Secondary Prevention


Key Terms and Concepts

9. Mental Illness and Malingering: The Criminal Lifestyle in an Application Context

Mental Illness



Key Terms and Concepts

10. Future Contexts and Distance Horizons
The Second Story Man

Understanding Crime: The Prime Context

Future Dimensional Contexts

Future Diagnostic Contexts

Future Appraisal Contexts

Future Etiological Contexts

Future Subjective Contexts

Future Programmatic Contexts

Future Preventive Contexts

Future Application Contexts


Key Terms and Concepts


The book is well structured to provide the reader with illustrative examples of the application of psychological theory to the field of psychology and law and clear intersects the two disciplines.

Mr Gwatirera Javangwe
Psychology, University of Zimbabwe
April 15, 2015

A bit too narrow for my course.

Dr Richard Wiebe
Behavioral Sciences Dept, Fitchburg State University
February 11, 2014

An excellent resource

Dr Elle Boag
Department of Psychology, Birmingham City University
September 12, 2013

I personally felt that this book attempted to cover too much ground, and as a result was lacking in depth and clarity on a lot of the topics covered. As a result, I felt that it was limited as a text for a post-graduate level course. I would suggest that it may be more appropriate for readers wishing to obtain a general overview of the area...

Dr Laura Hammond
School of Human & Health Sciences, Huddersfield University
January 27, 2013

The sub-title of this book really sums up its underlying aim, which is to examine the possibility of a rapprochement of the two constructs of a career criminal and a criminal career.

Each chapter builds on those preceding and leads us from the layman's condemnation of the criminal as 'crazy' or 'evil' towards an understanding of criminal behaviour, within the important context of understanding being entirely separate from acceptance or forgiveness.

Each of the ten chapters opens with a case study that informs and contextualises the theories that follow, which lead us to question the response that we have almost invariably had to the reading of the case-study.
This challenges the reader's judgmental stance and makes for a powerful learning experience.

Mr Paul Matthews
Business Administration , University College Birmingham
December 14, 2012

Excellent text providing a logical structure and a wide range of topics.

Mr Stuart Agnew
Social Science , University Campus Suffolk Ltd
June 11, 2012

An informative and comprehensive textbook. I particularly like the use of chapter opening cases

It contains a lot of useful and relevant information, and I highly recommend it to both my 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates.

Ms Margaret Watkin
Dept of Interdisciplinary Studies, Manchester Metropolitan Univ (Crewe)
June 9, 2012

I have used this book myself whilst completing the 3rd year of a BA (Hons) in Criminal Justice Studies and found it very beneficial. It would be a good 'added extra' for students reading lists.

Mrs Rebecca Watson
Social Sciences, The University of Northampton
May 1, 2012

This is a very easy to read book and the students all found it useful.

Mr Alan Searle
Psychology , Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education
April 7, 2012

An overall excellent book, and a perfect complement for this course. In-depth and comprehensive, yet accessible for undergraduate students, it allows for a better understanding of criminal careers, and criminal behavior in general.

Dr Maria Francisca Rebocho
Department of Political and Behavioral Science, Fernando Pessoa University
February 26, 2012
Key features

Key Features

  • Chapter-opening clinical case studies: These real-life examples are included at the beginning of each chapter to help enhance understanding of the theoretical models and research results presented and to offer accessible and relatable ways to apply those models.
  • Examines the underlying structure of crime-related constructs: This book helps students break away from the common view that offenders are best understood as types or categories. In place of typologies, this book introduces the notion of correlated dimensions that help us understand how criminal behavior develops, operates, and, in many cases, eventually stops.
  • Offers a view of crime from the offender's perspective: This view is presented to help students gain an appreciation of how the criminal views him- or herself, the surrounding environment, and his or her future which is invaluable in helping students understand the nature of crime.
  • Explores evidence-based interventions: This approach helps students understand the concepts behind intervention and prevention strategies with a focus on "what works", and illustrates how to evaluate one's results through research.

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.