Sample Undergraduate Psychology Essay

Topics: Crime, Juvenile delinquency, Psychology Pages: 5 (1600 words) Published: March 4, 2013
NB This is not a perfect essay. It was graded at 60% (A 2.1) and the bibliography is missing! Drawing on Freudian and Attachment Theories assess the Relationship between early year's experiences and criminality. Psychological theories have attempted to explain the reasons for and how criminality occurs. The psychoanalytic perspective involves two major theories - Freud's theory of the Sexual Stages of Development and the Theory of Attachment purposed by Bowlby (1947). These theories conclude that there is an association between the formation of personality in childhood and that of future criminal behaviour. The Freudian theory of development suggests that we go through several stages of development - these stages are motivated by one's sexual desires. These desires are unconscious elements - controlled by internal forces - which Freud claims are the id, ego and superego. The id represents the individual's impulsive desires which are regulated by the superego. The ego acts out the socially desirable behaviour. The id works in keeping with the pleasure principle, which can be understood as a demand to take care of needs immediately (e.g. this could relate to the behaviour of stealing). These demands are innocently explored through childhood - through the four stages of sexual development. Freudian theory believes that criminality is influenced by mental disturbances -which have aroused by a conflict between the id, ego and superego, or it may be the result of improper fixations during one of the stages of development. This mental disturbance often displays itself in the form of behavioural disorders such as social aggression or passiveness. Therefore Freud would argue that criminality is caused by a difficulty that has not been overcome during childhood. The adult individual displaying the criminal behaviour has developed a defective personality, based upon conflict, impulsiveness and aggression. Freudian theorist believe that this childhood conflict during his or her younger years has caused the adult individual to lack the ability to feel empathy, remorse, regret or guilt and has failed to develop a sense of right or wrong. Therefore, Freudian theory believes that criminality is a result of personality defects that have been influenced by a disturbance and lack of progression in the stages of development occurred in childhood. In addition Bowlby (1947) and Ainsworth (1969) have also explored the notion that early childhood experiences may affect adult behaviour and the prospect of criminality. Bowlby's (1947) research into juvenile delinquents revealed that those delinquent who as infants had lost contact or experience separation with their natural mother were found to be more prone to delinquent behaviour in their teenage years. Similarly Ainsworth's research with infants and the temporary separation of their mother or caregiver encourages children to act in an anti-social manner - either withdrawing or displaying aggressive tendencies. These studies have added support to the notion of the Attachment theory which implies that possible social factors in an individual's life may affect the likelihood of delinquency and or criminal activities. Glueck and Glueck (1950) conducted an extensive survey examining over 400 factors and their potential to cause juvenile delinquency.  They compared a control group of 500 11-18 year old young men to an experimental group of 500 young men of the same age who were in young offender's institutions.  The findings revealed that delinquent boys were 1.5 times more likely to have experience a distant relationships with their mothers. In addition, parenting skills also seemed to have an impact on the likelihood of criminal behaviour. For example delinquent boys were 2 times more likely to have experienced physical punishment from their parents. Furthermore, Glueck and Glueck (1950) found that the parenting skills of the delinquent boy's parents were 2...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Sample essay
  • Psychology Essay
  • Psychology Essays
  • Psychology Worksheet Sample Essay
  • Psychology Essay
  • psychology Essay
  • Psychology Research Paper
  • psychology Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free