The structure of adolescents' attitudes towards law and crime

Edward A. Nelsen, Nancy Eisenberg, James L. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The study was designed to examine the factorial composition of adolescents' attitudes towards law and crime. A questionnaire was administered to 380 male and female high school students of mixed SES and ethnic background. Factor analysis of responses to 36 items concerning law and crime-related issues yielded 12 factors of which seven were interpreted. The interpreted factors (and the number of items comprising each) were as follows: retributive responses to criminals (9 items), self-attribution of social-legal responsibility (6 items), belief in effective vs ineffective law-enforcement (4 items), law abidance (3 items), government by authority vs government by law (2 items), shared responsibility for law and order (2 items), and adverse, exploitative orientation to the law (2 items). These factors were judged to reflect coherent relationships among adolescents' views of law and crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-58
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'The structure of adolescents' attitudes towards law and crime'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this