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An Exploratory Test of Braithwaite’s Reintegrative Shaming Theory

Hay, Carter
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 38(2): 132-153

The past two decades have seen unprecedented growth in both the number and variety of theories of crime causation. Since 1985, at least 25 new theories of crime causation have emerged. If these theories are to illuminate rather than obscure our understanding of the causes of crime, empirical tests are needed. This article addresses that need by reporting a test of one prominent new theory of crime: Braithwaite’s reintegrative shaming theory. Adolescents are taken as the units of analysis, and the focus is on the relationship between their parents’ use of reintegration and shaming and adolescent reports of projected predatory delinquency. Three principal questions are addressed: (1) What variables predict parents’ use of reintegration and shaming? (2) Do reintegration and shaming statistically interact to affect delinquency, or are their effects additive? (3) Are any observed effects of reintegration and shaming on delinquency merely a result of spuriousness? Findings reveal partial support for the theory, including a durable negative effect of shaming on predatory delinquency.


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