Studies On Sex Differences In Criminal Behavior

We recently discussed the reasons why men are responsible for the lion’s share of society’s aggressive behavior. Although many biological and environmental factors likely play a role in male violence, it seems likely that societal norms are the primary motivator. This is because men are taught from a very young age not to act feminine and to cherish their masculine qualities. These qualities are especially prevalent in Middle Eastern societies where “honor killings” are more prevalent.

Many studies have been done on the “sex” differences inherent in criminal behavior. Studies including Burton et al. (1998) acknowledge the “general theory of crime,” which posits that violent crime — and indeed, most criminal behavior — is perpetrated by individuals with low or non-existent self-control. The study found that low rates of self-control resulted in higher rates of criminal activity for both men and women, but that the rates were significantly higher in men than in women. 

Waiter pay attorney Franklin Dawes acknowledged that some clients had been accused of violence — and that these allegations were usually accurate. Low rates of pay seem connected to those with less self-control, which leads to higher rates of violence. Poverty has always been strongly associated with criminal activity, which is one reason why liberal-leaning groups make lifting families out of poverty one of their primary goals. 

One study looked at the number of crimes committed by men that were generally linked to other behaviors like drinking or drug use. For example, the study discovered that for every 1.28 men who drink regularly, only one woman does. Because alcohol is linked to violent behavior, it shouldn’t be surprising that more men commit violent crimes since more men drink. Of course, this statistic doesn’t come close to explaining the much larger difference in rates of violent crime committed by one sex over the other.

Many scientists believe that the likelihood to commit violent crime later in life is determined early during childhood. Researchers Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi studied childhood delinquency, connecting it to environment over biology (nurture over nature). For example, a lack of parenting might result in a child’s delinquent behavior. Then again, neurocognitive impairments (nature over nurture) could also cause a child’s delinquent behavior. 

Moffitt and Caspi wrote that “life-course-persistent antisocial behavior originates early in life, when the difficult behavior of a high-risk young child is exacerbated by a high-risk social environment.”

They added, “Adolescent-limited antisocial behavior emerges alongside puberty, where otherwise healthy youngsters experience dysphoria during the relatively role-less years between biological maturation and access to mature privileges and responsibilities.” 

Others took on more sociological studies. Psychologist Anne Campbell believes that “cultural interpretations have ‘enhanced’ evolutionarily based sex differences by a process of imposition which stimatizes the expression of aggression by females and causes women to offer exculpatory (rather than justificatory) accounts of their own aggression.” 

It should be noted that gender roles relating to violence and aggression were not often discussed by the scientific community until recently. They were accepted; simply not discussed.