Crime and Family
Selected Essays of Joan McCord
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Temple University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Frontispiece
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These papers were selected for this collection by my mother, Joan McCord, after she discovered she had only a short time to live. They reflect the breadth and depth of the work she did from the middle 1970s until her death...
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Joan McCord was a brilliant pioneer in criminology. Her best-known, most influential, and greatest contributions to knowledge arose from her pioneering work on the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study, which was the first large-scale longitudinal-experimental...
Part One: The Effects of Intervention
1. A Thirty-Year Follow-up of Treatment Effects
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In 1935, Richard Clark Cabot instigated one of the most imaginative and exciting programs ever designed in hopes of preventing delinquency. A social philosopher as well as physician, Dr. Cabot established a program that both avoided stigmatizing participants and permitted follow-up evaluation...
2. Consideration of Some Effects of a Counseling Program
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Those who spend their lives providing psychological services generally do not have the opportunity to learn about the long-term effects of their efforts. The opportunity to study men who once were members of the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study provides a rare exception...
3. The Cambridge-Somerville Study: A Pioneering Longitudinal Experimental Study of Delinquency Prevention
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Claims linking family inadequacies with criminal behavior are far from new. In the seventeenth century, for example, William Gouge (1627) described the duties of family members toward one another by writing that “children well nurtured and by correction kept in filiall awe, will so carry themselves...
4. Cures That Harm: Unanticipated Outcomes of Crime Prevention Programs
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The New York Times published an article on Thursday, 4 April 2002 announcing that “a trade group representing British pharmaceutical companies publicly reprimanded Pfizer for promoting several medicines for unapproved uses and marketing another drug before it received government...
Part Two: The Effects of Child Rearing
5. Some Child-Rearing Antecedents of Criminal Behavior in Adult Men
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Despite a massive literature emphasizing the importance of child rearing, conscientious critics (e.g., Clarke & Clarke, 1976; Yarrow, Campbell, & Burton, 1968) have raised legitimate doubts regarding the impact of parental behavior on personality development. Many of the studies that link...
6. A Longitudinal View of the Relationship Between Paternal Absence and Crime
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For more than 2,000 years, concern with the existence of crime has been coupled with a belief that child rearing is linked to antisocial behaviour. Aristotle identified the relationship in Nicomachean Ethics (Book II, ch. 3, 1104b)...
7. A Forty Year Perspective on Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect
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The Present Study has been designed to assess long-term effects of child abuse and neglect. The data are part of a longitudinal study of the lives of 253 men reared in 232 families prior to World War II in eastern Massachusetts. Randomly selected for the study because they lived in transitional...
8. Family Relationships, Juvenile Delinquency, and Adult Criminality
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Historically, family interactions have been assumed to influence criminal behavior. Plato, for example, prescribed a regimen for rearing good citizens in the nursery. Aristotle asserted that in order to be virtuous, “we ought to have been brought up in a particular way from our very youth” (Bk. II, Ch. 3:11048). And...
Part Three: Punishment and Discipline
9. Questioning the Value of Punishment
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"Spare the rod and spoil the child,” many have argued. “No,” say others, as they refer to evidence that physical punishment leads to, rather than prevents, violent behavior. Yet only a few, it seems, have whispered that we should question the value of every type of punishment, including psychological...
10. Deterrence and the Light Touch of the Law
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Traditionally, two claims regarding effects of punishment have competed in the arena of criminal justice. The older claim can be traced to Protagoras, with Beccaria (1764) and Bentham (1789) as picadors. To Protagoras, Plato attributed the argument: “He who desires to inflict rational punishment does not retaliate...
11. On Discipline
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Parental discipline constitutes one of the more salient and, perhaps, malleable features of child-rearing. Knowing how to bring about desired results in children’s behavior is likely, therefore, to be particularly valuable. Yet research designed to understand effects of variations in timing...
12. Discipline and the Use of Sanctions
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Often, when parents and advisors discuss discipline, they refer only to punishment. Yet punishment is to discipline, I suggest, as crumbs are to a banquet. Punishments are tiny, largely undesirable, pieces of the delicious feast provided by well-prepared discipline. Discipline, which is far larger and...
Part Four: Crime in the Family
13. Patterns of Deviance
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Over the last few decades, studies of crime have yielded enough information to raise some interesting questions about patterns of deviance. For example, studies of young criminals have linked their behavior to parental rejection, parental conflict, and to criminal role models (Bandura...
14. The Cycle of Crime and Socialization Practices
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Studies of delinquency are peppered with reports that crime runs in families. Aggressiveness and criminality among the parents of delinquents have been reported in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, and Finland.1 Evidence from these studies suggests that criminality has both biological...
15. Family Socialization and Antisocial Behavior: Searching for Causal Relationships in Longitudinal Research
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For many of us, longitudinal research has involved a deep commitment, a commitment that has seemed justified by the promise of answers to profound questions. We have, in effect, accepted the credo expressed by John Stuart Mill (1843/1973) who wrote: “Of all truths relating to phenomena...
16. Family as Crucible for Violence: Comment on Gorman-Smith et al. (1996)
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Gorman-Smith, Tolan, Zelli, and Huesmann (1996) studied African American and Latino boys in the fifth and seventh grades. The boys lived in “disadvantaged inner-city neighborhoods in Chicago” (p. 119). Using information supplied by the boys and their caretakers, the researchers...
Part Five: Alcoholism and Drunk Driving
17. Drunken Drivers in Longitudinal Perspective
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Popular opinion lends credence to a view that men convicted for driving while intoxicated (DWI) are simply men whose friends have failed to note their presumably exceptional inebriety. The implication of this view is that drunken drivers could be any of us. In his careful review of the evidence...
18. Alcoholism and Crime Across Generations
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Both alcoholism and criminality tend to run in families. Because a higher proportion of alcoholics than of the general population have alcoholic parents and a higher proportion of criminals than of the general population have criminal parents, the children of alcoholics and criminals...
19. Identifying Developmental Paradigms Leading to Alcoholism
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Alcoholism, like crime and mental illness, seems to run in families. Few who have known an alcoholic are likely to argue that an alcoholic’s behavior will have no impact on his or her family. Partly for this reason, the relatively high rate of alcoholism found among children of alcoholics...
20. Another Time, Another Drug
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Recent research has suggested that drinking alcohol is almost a necessary precursor for using illegal drugs and that abusing the legal drug alcohol sets the stage for abusing illegal drugs (Kandel, 1980; Mills and Noyes, 1984; Osgood, Johnston, O’Malley, and Bachman, 1988; Welte and Barnes...
Part Six: Miscellany
21. Competence in Long-Term Perspective
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Despite their separation, the two views have converged in studies of young children that suggest a link between learning disabilities and conduct disorders (e.g., Coie and Krehbiel, 1984; Dodge, 1983; Farrington and Loeber, 1987; Green et al., 1980; McGee and Share, 1988) and in studies...
22. Understanding Motivations: Considering Altruism and Aggression
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The fact that criminal actions are performed intentionally distinguishes them from accidental actions and from those performed as a consequence of mental illness. Intentional actions require motives, so motivations should play a central role in an adequate theory of crime. This article...
23. Ethnicity, Acculturation, and Opportunities: A Study of Two Generations
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The number of cities in the United States with populations of at least ten thousand people rose from five, in 1800, to 345, in 1890, marking the beginning of a transition from a rural to an urban society (Weber, 1899/1963; Thernstrom, 1964/1970). After a brief hiatus, brought about by water...
24. Learning How to Learn and its Sequelae
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High school in Tuscon, Arizona left me thinking that education was a matter of learning how to repeat what others wrote. Fortunately, at Stanford, I had two lucky breaks that taught me otherwise. The first was in a philosophy course that challenged me to think critically about what...
Joan McCord’s Publications
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Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2009