An investigation into gender differences amongst opiate users in terms of attitudes towards criminality

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Higgins, Clodagh Ann
Issue Date
MA in Addiction Studies
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this study was to examine levels of criminal attitudes in terms of gender in opiate users and compare their levels to non-opiate users, using A Brief Criminal Attitude Scale and The National Drug Treatment Reporting System (to collect demographic details only). It is hypothesised that participants in the drug misuser's condition will have significantly higher attitudes towards criminality and that there will be a significant difference between gender. The hypothesis is based on the principle that females engage in less crime and as a result would have lower levels in criminal attitudes. The conditions of the independent variables are; opiate users and non opiate users, gender and criminal attitudes. The conditions of the dependent variables are; the various psychosocial scales such as offending behaviour, education, employment and age. Between group differences are measured via ANOVA tests. The results revealed that there was a significant difference between opiate users and non opiate users in terms of criminal attitudes. Additionally, there was a significant difference in levels of offending behaviour amongst these two groups. However there was no significant difference in gender. Theoretical1y, these conclusions are imperative as they establish an apparent relation amid two observations that have been made individually in previous research, namely the effects of drug use on criminal behaviour. In addition, results from the present study have important implications for the diagnosis of addiction and for therapeutic intervention, in the sense that attention must be directed towards the person and their attitudes towards crime. For future research it may be beneficial to include other types of addiction apart from substance abuse e.g. drinking and gambling.