As we noted in Chapters 3 and 4, numerous influences have been associated with the occurrence of criminal acts. To put it at its simplest, there is no single variable to which we can point and say, ‘That is the cause of crime.’ Like other types of behavioural and social problems, antisocial and illegal conduct is influenced by a number of variables, and is usually described as multifactorial in origin. We should also bear in mind that to qualify as a ‘risk factor’ (such as those we encountered in Chapter 3), a variable need only be correlated with offending or antisocial behaviour ℃ that variable may or may not be causal. Moffitt and Caspi probably voiced the thoughts of many in the field when they asserted that research on antisocial behaviour is ‘stuck at the “risk-factor” stage’ (2007, p. 97). Nevertheless, there are highly developed theoretical accounts of the factors that influence antisocial behaviour rather than being simply correlated with it. In this chapter and in Part 2 of the book, we will take a closer look at some of them.
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