Psychodynamic explanations of offending

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Psychodynamic explanations of offending

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Psychodynamic explanations of offending
  1. Inadequate superego
    1. Freudian theory would suggest that offending behaviour happens due to an imbalance between the three components of personality (id,ego,superego) caused by the id not being sufficiently controlled.
      1. Three types of superego may result in offending behaviour
        1. Weak superego
          1. Absence of same sex parent therefore child can't identify with their moral code. The child grows up to have no sense of right or wrong
          2. Deviant superego
            1. Same sex parent the chid identifies with is imoral. The child internalises a deviant moral code and so views of right and wrong differ from society.
            2. Over-harsh superego
              1. The childs superego is excessively punitive and demanding of guiilt leading to the child having a need for punishment. The person will engage in criminal behaviour because they have an uncosncious conflict to be punished.
            3. Many people without a same sex parent turn out to be perfectly law which goes against the idea of inadequate superego
            4. Defence mechanisms
              1. Unconscious processes to protect the conscious self from unpleasant event
                1. Denial
                  1. Refusing to accept an unpleasant event is happening as its too disturbing so a person may commit a murder but refuse to consciously acknowledge what they have one to refuse to recognise the severity of their actions
                  2. Rationalisation
                    1. Explains unacceptable behavious in a rational way e.g. a person who attacks a provocatively dressed person may ssay they asked for it and needed to be taught a lesson
                    2. displacement
                      1. Taking anger/frustration out from your girlfriend onto a stranger in the street by attacking them
                      2. Unconscious - can't be tested and so theres no real evidence for their existence
                        1. Cant explain all crimes as some crimes such as fraud require careful planning rather than impulsively acting on irrational thought processes
                        2. Maternal deprivation
                          1. John Bowlby - being deprived of a continous loving relationship in the first two years of live will result in irreversible damage including delinquency
                            1. Evidence comes from studies carried out on animals deprieved of their mothers and from Bowlbys own research with 44 Juvenile delinquents.
                              1. Findings from animals may not be generalizable to human behaviour
                              2. Bowlbys study had many criticisms - data was reterospective and so likely to be unreliable. Even if maternal deprivation was a contributing factor to criminality it is unlikely to be the only explanation as there isn't a simple cause and effect link.
                              3. Can explain different types of offending as often the offender has no feelings for their victim
                              4. According to Freud the greater fear of castratiob leads to a stronger superego in boys rather than girls. So males should be more moral however statistics show that they commit more crime than females.
                                1. Hoffman - females have much stronger moral orientation than males which goes against what freud would say
                                2. Rely heavily on qualitative case studies - very subjective and allows for behaviour to be interpreted in different ways by different people.
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