Adverse childhood experiences, coping style and criminal thinking: evidence for a mediation relationship
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between adverse childhood events, coping strategies and pro-criminal thinking style among non-incarcerated males in New Zealand. Furthermore, it is to investigate whether these variables are related to the consideration of future consequences. Research conducted in the past has drawn mixed conclusions regarding whether the cycle of abuse is present. Some major issues between these studies are the different types of research designs, the definition of terms being used and most importantly, participant characteristics. This study seeks to explore this relationship through a mediation study. A total of 119 male participants from the general population in New Zealand completed an anonymous online questionnaire. Participants were recruited though various platforms, including Neighbourly; a website that allows the general public to post notices and ads online, social media and the University. The scales being used in this research are the ACE Scale, The CSI, The PICTS – Layperson Edition as well as The CFC scale. It was hypothesised that there would be a relationship between adverse childhood experiences, coping strategy and adult pro-criminal thinking and that coping strategies would mediate ACE and PICTS. Results confirmed a significant relationship between adverse childhood events, coping strategy and pro-criminal thinking styles among this sample. Using the Sobel test for mediation, the hypothesised mediation relationship between these variables was also confirmed. Multiple regression confirmed that ACE, CSI, and CFC significantly predicted pro-criminal thinking. Limitations to this study include a small sample size and the lack of variability in characteristics in that a large majority were students. Future studies should consider conducting a longitudinal study to gain more insight into the patterns involved in the cycle of abuse. Within this sample, the cycle of abuse appears present, however viewed alongside other studies, the conclusion is still mixed. More research is needed to further understand this cycle in order to break it.