Empathy and demographic and criminal history

Table 7.1 shows the relationship between empathy and the demographic and criminal history characteristics of the male sample. For example, the average age of the males in the sample was 32.6 (SD = 10.7). However, when the sample was separated into those with low affective empathy (LAE) and those with high affective empathy (HAE), those with LAE were found to be significantly younger (29.6 compared to 33.3, OR = 1.9, 1.6-1.3). Those in the low cognitive empathy (LCE) group were also found to be significantly younger. Interestingly, there was a significant relationship between ethnicity and affective empathy, with a higher proportion of White individuals in the LAE group (OR = 2.5, 1.1-10.0). Similarly, those on a licence were significantly more likely to be in the LCE group (OR = 2.0, 1.1-3.3).

The proportion of those with certain index offence categories was compared to empathy categories. For example, 18.9% of the sample had an index offence of "Other” (which included fraud, other motoring offences, vandalism, etc); 17.1% of the LAE group had this index offence compared to 19.5% of the HAE group. This difference (OR = 0.8, 0.4-1.7) was not significant. Those who had a drug offence were over-represented in the HAE group (not significant), and those who had an index offence of serious theft were over-represented in the LAE group (OR = 2.5,1.7-5.0). There was no evidence that those with violent or sexual index offences were more likely to be in the LAE group.

M (sd)

Low .iff

Norm .iff

LCI

OR

UC1

% Low Cog

% Nonn Cog

LCI

OR

UCI

Av. Age at Index Oft'ence

32.6(10.7)

29.6 (9.4)

33.3 (11.1)

1.6

1.9

2.3

29.3 (10.2)

33.2 (10.8)

1.6

2.0

2.5

Ethnicity

%

% Low .iff

% Nonn .iff

LCI

OR

UCI

% Low Cog

% Nonn Cog

LCI

OR

UCI

White

83.8

92.1

80.7

1.1

2.5

10

84.4

82.2

0.4

0.8

1.7

Sentence Type

%

% Low.iff

% Nonn .iff

LCI

OR

UCI

% Low Cog

% Nonn Cog

LCI

OR

UCI

Licence

29%

36.1

27.6

0.8

1.4

2.5

40.6

26.9

1.1

2.0

3.3

Index Offence Categoiy

%

% Low.iff

% Nonn .iff

LCI

OR

UCI

% Low Cog

% Nonn Cog

LCI

OR

UCI

Other

18.9

17.1

19.5

0.4

0.8

1.7

12.3

21.2

0.2

0.5

1.1

Theft

10.4

13.2

9.5

0.7

1.4

3.3

11

10.8

0.4

1.0

2.5

Serious Theft

8.5

11.8

7.2

1.7

2.5

5

12.3

7.2

0.8

1.7

5.0

Drug Offences

9.5

5.3

10.9

0.2

0.5

1.4

9.6

9.5

0.4

1.0

2.5

Sexual

10.5

7.9

10.9

0.3

0.7

1.7

2.7

12.6

0.1

0.2

0.8

Violence

42

44.7

42.1

0.7

1.1

2

52.1

38.7

1.1

1.7

3.3

Previous Offending

%

% Low .iff

% Nonn .iff

LCI

OR

UCI

% Low Cog

% Norm Cog

LCI

OR

UCI

Previous Convictions

92.1

97.4

90.1

0.9

4.0

17

97.3

90.2

0.9

3.3

16.7

Previous Prison Sentences

53.4

59.2

51.6

0.8

1.4

2.5

61.6

50.4

0.9

1.7

2.5

Previous Serious Violence

5.4

7.9

4.5

0.6

2.0

5.0

5.5

5.4

0.3

1.0

3.3

Previous Violence

68.4

75.0

66.4

0.9

1.4

2.5

68.5

68.3

0.6

1.0

1.7

Previous Sex Offending

9.0

6.6

9.0

0.3

0.7

2.0

4.1

10.3

0.1

0.4

1.3

M (sd)

Low Aff

Norm Aff

LCI

OR

UCI

Low Aff

Nona Aff

LCI

OR

UCI

Age of First Conviction

19.7 (5.5)

17.8 (5.5)

20.5 (8.7)

1.4

1.9

2.3

18.0(5.2)

20.3 (8.8)

1.3

1.7

2.0

OGRS

50.5 (25.0)

57.9 (22.4)

47.9(25.5)

1.8

2.1

2.5

56.6 (22.6)

49.0 (25.6)

1.3

1.8

2.1

Measure of Frequency

%

% Low Aff

% Nona Aff

LCI

OR

UCI

% Low Cog

% Nona Cog

LCI

OR

UCI

Long Criminal Careers

25.1

22.4

26

0.4

0.8

1.4

13.7

28.1

0.2

0.4

0.8

High number of Prev. Conv

23.1

30.3

20.6

0.9

1.7

3.3

27.4

22.3

0.7

1.3

2.5

High number of Prev. Prison

15.4

21.1

13.5

0.9

1.7

3.3

23.3

13.4

1.1

2.0

3.3

High number of Prev. Viol

15.7

15.8

15.7

0.5

1.0

2.0

20.5

14.3

0.8

1.7

3.3

Those with an "Other” offence appeared to be over-represented in the HCE category while those with serious theft appeared more likely to be in the LCE category. Interestingly, those with sexual offences were significantly more likely to come from the high cognitive empathy (HCE) group (OR = 0.2,0.1-0.8), while LCE was significantly associated with an index offence of violence (OR = 1.7, 1.1-3.3).

Low affective empathy appeared to be related to having previous convictions. For example, while 92.1% of the sample had previous convictions, 97.4% of the LAE group had previous convictions compared to 90.1% of the HAE group (OR = 4.0, 0.9-16.7). The results were similar for LCE (OR = 3.3, 0.9-16.7). No other comparisons were statistically significant, but it was noteworthy that previous sexual offending appeared more common in the HCE group (OR = 0.4. 0.1-1.3).

In addition to prevalence, it was also considered important to compare low empathy to measures of frequency of offending. The measures available were the number of previous convictions, the number of previous prison sentences and the number of previous violent offences. As these constructs were highly skewed, these were all dichotomised, as far as possible, into the “worst” 25% and the remaining 75%. For example, 23.1% of the total sample had a high number of previous convictions (33 or more), but this proportion was higher in the LAE group (30.3%) compared to the HAE group (20.6%). This difference just failed to reach significance (OR = 1.7, 0.9-3.3). The results were similar when these groups were compared on the proportion who had experienced a high number of previous prison sentences (OR = 1.7, 0.9-3.3). However, the results did suggest that LCE was significantly associated with a higher number of previous prison sentences (OR = 2.0, 1.1-3.3). Generally, the odds ratios were in the expected direction, with both lower affective and cognitive empathy being associated with greater criminal experience.

The Offender Group Reconviction Scale (OGRS) is an actuarial risk assessment device that predicts the probability of reoffending (from 0 to 100) one year after release. This actuarial estimate is based on the offender's gender, age at index offence and a measure of their speed of accruing convictions across their criminal career (Howard et al., 2009). The average OGRS score of the males in this sample was 50.5 (SD = 25.0), suggesting that these individuals had about a 50% chance of reoffending over the next 12 months. Those who had LAE and LCE had significantly higher OGRS scores, suggesting that the low empathy groups were significantly more likely to reoffend than those in the high empathy groups.

 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >