n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Exploring the nature of the relationship between self-esteem and offence type of a group of recidivists

Special Edition 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


The discrepancies between perspectives on self-esteem and its effect on problematic behaviour have undermined self-esteem as a prominent indicator of future and repeated offending behaviour. Further inquiry has, however, led researchers to believe that although self-esteem may not have a causal relationship with offending behaviour, it is considered a strong indicator of the type of offence individuals at risk are likely to commit. Quantitative analysis was conducted using the self-concept theory of Carl Rogers to guide the research. A purposive sample of 73 male repeat offenders from ten correctional centres in the Zululand area was included in the study. Self-esteem was assessed in light of numerous variables focusing on offence type. The results indicated that the self-esteem scores of the repeat offender sample varied significantly in terms of offence type. Aggressive offenders had the highest levels of self-esteem. Differences in self-esteem scores were also found between sexual offenders and participants classified as economic, narcotic and "other" offenders. Further differences in self-esteem scores were found between a combination of offenders classified as economic, narcotic and "other" when compared to the total sample mean.

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