Violent vs. Nonviolent Offending

Reviewers have not addressed the issue of whether warmth/rejection can distinguish violent from nonviolent offenders. Even among authors who report findings for violent and nonviolent offending separately, or who compare offenders, little theory or reasoning for this choice is provided. Barnow et al. (2005) distinguish between violent and nonviolent offenders mainly because the two types of conduct problems “represent two distinct clinical entities, and should not be considered unidimensional” (p. 25). Marcus and Gray (1998) are an exception; they were interested in a similar research question to our own, hypothesizing that close relationships generally should be weaker in violent compared to nonviolent offenders. They expected that poor relationships with family and friends would “set the stage for emotional vulnerability to provocation” related to violent behavior (Marcus & Gray, 1998, p. 31). Thus, our summary of these studies will constitute a new contribution to the literature.

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