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Empathy and repeated offending of young offenders in Argentina

Empathy and repeated offending of young offenders in Argentina

Orlando, Mirian S, Farrington, David P. and Jolliffe, Darrick ORCID: 0000-0003-4590-6343 (2021) Empathy and repeated offending of young offenders in Argentina. International Journal of Comparative and International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice. ISSN 0192-4036 (Print), 2157-6475 (Online) (doi:

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Despite the high prevalence of youth offending in Argentina, there are relatively few investigations of the factors that may be associated with persistent youth offending in Argentina. The identification of these factors may help to inform the development of interventions which could be delivered to young offenders to reduce repeated offending. Low empathy, or a diminished ability to experience and/or understand emotions, is an important psychological construct for understanding persistent criminal and antisocial behavior. There is, however, an absence of evidence about how low empathy may relate to repeat offending of young offenders generally and in Argentina specifically. In this study the affective empathy (the capacity to experience the emotions of others) and cognitive empathy (the capacity to understand the emotions of others) of 100 young male offenders (aged 16-17) in Buenos Aires was assessed using a translated and revised version of the Basic Empathy Scale. The level of empathy of young offenders who were repeat offenders (N=51) was then compared to those who were one-time offenders (N=49). In addition, data on family criminality, school achievement and socioeconomic status was also obtained for both groups. The results showed that repeat offenders had significantly lower affective and cognitive empathy, and that these relationships held independent of the other related factors. These findings suggest that low empathy may be an important explanatory factor for repeat offending in juveniles in Argentina, and therefore may be a useful target for interventions designed to reduce repeat offending.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: empathy; basic empathy scale; Argentina; repeat offending; young offenders
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
K Law > K Law (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Crime, Law & (In)Security Research Group (CLS)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
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Last Modified: 29 Apr 2023 01:38

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