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Importance of locus of control in offenders with intellectual disability

Matthew Raymond (Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Susan Hayes (Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour

ISSN: 2050-8824

Article publication date: 8 December 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Locus of control (LOC) is the manner in which one attributes their ability to make change in life. This could be through others, fate or chance (externalised), or through oneself (internalised). An internalised LOC results in greater self-belief in the ability to change one's behaviour. Non-disabled offenders with an internalised LOC are more likely to benefit from treatment through therapy and in turn have reduced rates of re-offending. The relationship between LOC and response to treatment is only understood in a limited way for offenders with intellectual disability (ID) who participate in treatment programmes. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

To better understand LOC for offenders with ID, this paper investigates its role in community-based therapy outcomes along with its use as a common pre-/post-measure of treatment success in mainstream offender populations. Drawing upon these findings information more specific to people with ID will be discussed.

Findings

This paper will then explore the importance of LOC in treating offenders with ID through a review of the current published literature, which generally indicates offenders with ID demonstrate a tendency towards an external LOC in comparison with non-disabled or non-offender groups.

Originality/value

Given the negative implications for treatment that external LOC may play, several significant therapeutic strategies that can contribute to development of internalised LOC are discussed, in addition to a consideration of other possible variables separate from ID that may play a role in both developing or perpetuating an external LOC.

Keywords

Citation

Raymond, M. and Hayes, S. (2014), "Importance of locus of control in offenders with intellectual disability", Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 189-198. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIDOB-10-2014-0013

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited