On the General Relationship between Victimization and Offending: Examining Cultural Contingencies

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Journal of Criminal Justice




Culture has been implicated in a wide range of individual behaviors. However, empirical investigation of how culture impacts violent behavior is limited. In particular, the well-established finding that there is an overlap between offenders and victims has not been examined in a culturally comparative context - limiting the ability to generalize current findings across cultures.


This study uses data from the second International Self-Report Delinquency Study (ISRD-II), a large school-based sample of adolescents in grades 7-9, and three measures from the Hofstede Dimensions of National Culture dataset to investigate how culture might moderate the relationship between victimization and offending.


A series of multivariate, multilevel models are run examining variation in the victim-offender overlap across contexts and attempting to explain why variations exist.


The results indicate that victimization remains a salient predictor of offending across contexts with overall consistency in its effect on offending. Some cultural indicators were shown to slightly moderate this relationship.


While consistency in the victim-offender overlap was clear, individualism was a cultural-level variable that displayed a weak but statistically significant moderation effect on the victim-offender relationship suggesting that culture should not be altogether ignored in studies on violence.