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Personality and Individual Di?erences 39 (2005) 7–19

PEN, Big Five, juvenile delinquency and criminal recidivism
Coleta van Dam, Jan M.A.M. Janssens *, Eric E.J. De Bruyn
Institute of Family and Child Care Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands Received 25 September 2003; received in revised form 19 May 2004; accepted 30 June 2004 Available online 19 April 2005

Abstract The aim of this study was to examine which of the two personality models, PEN or Big Five, di?erentiates best between Dutch juvenile o?enders (n = 96) and college students (n = 204), between Dutch selfreported recidivists (n = 43) and non-recidivists (n = 14), and between o?cially recorded recidivists (n = 37) and non-recidivists (n = 24). Students (mean age = 17.23 years) and o?enders (mean age = 18.63 years) ?lled out the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Revised and the Short Big Five Questionnaire. Occurrence and severity of recidivism were measured by a self-report questionnaire and by o?cial police records. Students were higher than o?enders on PEN?s Extraversion and the Big Five dimensions Agreeableness and Openness. PEN?s Extraversion appeared to be higher in o?cially recorded recidivists compared to non-recidivists. PEN?s Psychoticism, Big Five?s Neuroticism and Agreeableness di?erentiated self-reported recidivists from non-recidivists. Only PEN?s Psychoticism predicted severity of self-reported recidivism. Proposals for future research in recidivism are formulated. ? 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Personality; Juvenile delinquency; Recidivism


Corresponding author. Tel.: +31 24 361 27 08. E-mail address: j.janssens@pwo.ru.nl (J.M.A.M. Janssens).

0191-8869/$ - see front matter ? 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2004.06.016


Coleta van Dam et al. / Personality and Individual Di?erences 39 (2005) 7–19

0. Introduction In this study relationships among personality, delinquency and recidivism are examined from the perspective of two in?uential personality theories: Eysenck?s PEN model and the Big Five model. Eysenck?s PEN model (Eysenck, 1977) is one of the few theories that explicitly related personality traits to criminality (see Eysenck & Gudjonsson, 1989). However, this model has not often been used to explain recidivism after a period of incarceration. The Big Five model (see Goldberg, 1990) is relatively new, and seems to be the dominant model of personality traits today. It is to some extent related to the PEN model, but has scarcely been used to study relations between personality and delinquency or recidivism. In this study we analysed which of both models (PEN or Big Five) is better able to di?erentiate between an o?ender sample and a normal sample of college students, and between recidivists and non-recidivists. According to Eysenck (1977, 1998) the three basic PEN dimensions of personality (Psychoticism, Extraversion and Neuroticism) are related to physiological mechanisms in the brain and central nervous system (CNS). Through the working of the CNS and the related conditioning processes (Eysenck & Gudjonsson, 1989), it could be convincingly theorized that delinquents should score high on the PEN dimensions. However full empirical support for Eysenck?s hypothesis has not been found. Studies are conclusive in their ?ndings that high Psychoticism is always involved in criminality, regardless of age, and both in o?ender as well as in normal samples. Mixed results though, have since long been found for Neuroticism and Extraversion (Blackburn, 1993). Some studies found high Psychoticism and high Neuroticism to be associated with juvenile delinquency in both o?enders (Romero, Luengo, & Sobral, 2001) and college students (Heaven & Virgen, 2001). Other studies found Psychoticism and Extraversion instead of Psychoticism and Neuroticism to be positively related to juvenile delinquency in o?ender samples (Aleixo & Norris, 2000) and normal samples (Heaven, 1996). Daderman (1999) found Psychoticism, Extraversion and Neuroticism to be signi?cantly higher in juvenile o?enders compared to a non-delinquent control group. In another study of Daderman (Daderman, Meurling, & Hallman, 2001) only di?erences with regard to Extraversion were found, while Morizot and Le Blanc (2003) concluded that antisocial individuals are not typically di?erent in this domain. In research on relations between personality and delinquency, less attention has been paid to recidivism. Recidivism might be considered as a persistent form of delinquency. Only one study examined the relation between the PEN dimensions and juvenile recidivism. Eysenck and Eysenck (1974) measured Psychoticism, Extraversion and Neuroticism of 187 boys in a juvenile detention centre. Approximately three years later, reconviction rates of these boys were checked. Non-recidivists were signi?cantly lower on Extraversion. No signi?cant di?erences were found with regard to Psychoticism and Neuroticism. The Big Five model (Goldberg, 1990) also includes Extraversion and Neuroticism, but next to Extraversion and Neuroticism also Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Openness. Empirical results of several studies have shown that Extraversion and Neuroticism of both models show high resemblance and that Psychoticism is negatively related to Agreeableness and Conscientiousness (Eysenck, 1992; Costa & McCrae, 1992). The state of Openness is less clear. Eysenck (1991,

Coleta van Dam et al. / Personality and Individual Di?erences 39 (2005) 7–19


1992) considered Openness to be part of Psychoticism, but empirical results did not support this hypothesis (Avia et al., 1995; Scholte & De Bruyn, 2004). Saggino (2000) and Scholte and De Bruyn (2004) suggested that Openness might be part of Eysenck?s Extraversion. Others mean that Openness is not measured in Eysenck?s model (Costa & McCrae, 1995). We found three studies that reported on relations between the Big Five and self-reported delinquent behaviour in non-clinical samples. John, Caspi, Robins, Mo?tt, and Stouthamer-Loeber (1994) found that delinquent boys (12–13 years old) who reported burglary, drugs dealing and strong arming behaviour, scored lower on Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Openness and higher on Extraversion than non-delinquent boys. Heaven (1996) studied a group of 16–19 year old students and found Neuroticism to be positively, and Conscientiousness and Agreeableness to be negatively related to self-reported vandalism. van Aken, van Lieshout, and Scholte (1998) described three personality types in adolescents, based on a cluster analysis of Big Five scores: Undercontrollers, Overcontrollers and Resilients. The three types were each divided into two subtypes, and all six subtypes were compared on self-reported delinquent behaviour. The most delinquent subtype, the antisocial undercontrollers, was characterized by extremely low scores on Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, and moderate scores on Extraversion, Openness and Neuroticism compared to resilient adolescents. As far as we know, no study reported on relations between the Big Five and juvenile recidivism. As it stands now, the Big Five model seems not to o?er greater power in revealing personalitycriminality associations than the PEN model, but we lack a su?cient number of studies to draw ?rm conclusions. Therefore, the primary aim of our study was to enlarge the body of knowledge by comparing the power of both models in di?erentiating between juvenile o?enders and a normal sample of college students, and between juvenile recidivists and non-recidivists. We also wanted to tackle two methodological issues we had met in studying the literature: the assessment of delinquent behaviour (self-report versus o?cial records) and the parameters used to assess recidivism (occurrence versus severity). In studies on delinquency and recidivism, there is discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of self-reported delinquent behaviour and o?cial records (see Babinski, Hartsough, & Lambert, 2001). The most important limitation of self-reported delinquent behaviour is the possibility of socially desirable answers. Because of the (expected) unwillingness of respondents to report on severe o?ences, self-report lists often address the less serious forms of crime. The most important limitation of o?cial records is that they do not report on undetected crime, the issue of dark number. So, in this study both self-reported o?ences and o?cial police records were used to measure recidivism. The other issue concerns the assessment of recidivism. In studies on recidivism, often a dichotomy between recidivists and non-recidivists is applied. Those who committed one or more o?ences after release, are considered to be re-o?enders, and those who did not commit any o?ence after release are regarded as non-recidivists. This dichotomy implies that recidivists can be looked upon as a homogeneous group. However, it is questionable whether this is a proper assumption. For example, a person who re-o?ends by stealing a bike and a person who re-o?ends by committing an armed robbery, are both recidivists, but the severity of the committed o?ences varies considerably. Therefore, in the present study both parameters of recidivism, occurrence and severity, were used.


Coleta van Dam et al. / Personality and Individual Di?erences 39 (2005) 7–19

According to the aims of this study, we formulated three research questions. (1) Which model, PEN or Big Five, di?erentiated best between juvenile o?enders and a sample of college students? (2) Which model, PEN or Big Five, predicted best the occurrence of recidivism? (3) Which model, PEN or Big Five, predicted best the severity of recidivism?

1. Method 1.1. Participants 1.1.1. O?ender sample The o?ender sample consisted of 96 male adolescents who had been convicted for a serious criminal o?ence (48% for a violent property crime, 19% burglary or theft, 14% homicide, 8% vandalism or ?re setting, 7% violence against persons and 4% for other crimes). To serve out their sentence, they were placed in ‘‘De Hunnerberg’’, a juvenile detention centre for correctional treatment located in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The treatment programme in ‘‘De Hunnerberg’’ is based on principles of environmental therapy and learning theory. Environmental therapy provides a general framework from which rules are generated for all boys. These rules mainly concern aspects of daily structure, like waking-up times, behaviour rules during mealtimes. Individual treatment is guided by learning theory. New behaviour is learned by rewarding desired behaviour and by ignoring undesired behaviour. An important aspect of the individual therapy is an analysis of the committed o?ence. It is examined which factors triggered the boy to commit a speci?c o?ence. Following goals are formulated to change the boys? behaviour in comparable situations. In 36% of the o?ender sample, assessment took place during detention, 64% of the sample was assessed one year after their release from the detention centre. This last group of 61 released o?enders was used to analyse relations between personality and recidivism.1 In fact, we approached 111 released o?enders, but 50 could not participate because of various reasons (not traceable, refused, mentally retarded). We did not ?nd signi?cant di?erences between respondents and non-respondents with regard to age, ethnicity and mean length of stay. Age of the total sample was between 13 and 25 years old (mean = 18.69, S.D. = 2.20). With regard to background, 48% had Western-European, 17% Northern-African, 13% Surinamese and 22% had diverse origins (e.g. Netherlands Antilles, African, South-American).

1.1.2. College student sample This sample consisted of 204 male adolescents attending vocational training college in the region of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Age varied between 15 and 24 years (mean = 17.23,

Four respondents did not ?ll out the self-report questionnaire on delinquent behavior. Since we disposed of o?cial criminal records of these respondents, they were not removed from the analyses. Therefore results regarding selfreported recidivism report on 57 instead of 61 respondents.


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S.D. = 1.32). Vocational training colleges were selected because of the similarity with the o?ender group with regard to age and low educational level. 1.2. Measures 1.2.1. EPQ-R The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Revised (EPQ-R; Eysenck, Eysenck, & Barrett, 1985) was used to assess the PEN dimensions. The EPQ-R consists of 100 yes/no items, of which 32 items represent the Psychoticism, 24 items the Neuroticism and 23 items the Extraversion dimension. The remainder 21 items form the Lie scale. The items of the Lie scale were excluded from the analyses in this study. Measures for Psychoticism, Extraversion and Neuroticism were obtained by computing sum scores over the items of each scale. Cronbach?s alpha?s were .72 (o?enders) and .62 (students) for Psychoticism; .73 (o?enders) and .71 (students) for Extraversion; .80 (o?enders) and .78 (students) for Neuroticism. 1.2.2. SBF The dimensions of the Big Five were measured by the Short Big Five Questionnaire (SBF; Gerris et al., 1998). The SBF consists of 30 adjectives which represent the scales Extraversion, Emotional Stability, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Resourcefulness. The scale Emotional Stability corresponds with reversed Neuroticism, Resourcefulness with Openness. For reasons of convenience, in further analyses, we used the terms Neuroticism and Openness. Scores on the scale Emotional Stability were recoded. Respondents were asked to answer on a seven-point scale whether the 30 adjectives are applicable to them (1 = totally not applicable; 7 = totally applicable). Each of the ?ve dimensions is assessed by six items and mean scores for each dimension were computed. Cronbach?s alpha?s were .71 (o?enders) and .71 (students) for Extraversion; .75 (o?enders) and .73 (students) for Neuroticism; .74 (o?enders) and .75 (students) for Conscientiousness, .82 (o?enders) and .72 (students) for Agreeableness; .64 (o?enders) and .66 (students) for Openness. 1.2.3. SRDB Self-reported recidivism of the released o?ender group was measured by the Self-report list for delinquent behaviour (SRDB; Boendermaker, 1998). The SRDB consisted of 20 items each representing a criminal act. For each act, respondents were asked whether they committed this act since their release from the juvenile institution. The criminal o?ences varied from vandalism and burglary, to rape and dealing in drugs. Respondents were considered as recidivists if they had committed one or more of the 20 acts mentioned in the SRDB. To assess severity of recidivism, the following procedure was carried out. Every act was rated on a three-point scale, according to the level of severity which depended on the maximum sentence. Score one was assigned to non-violent o?ences with a maximum sentence of 36 months, (7 o?ences, e.g. vandalism, shoplifting, bicycle theft), score two to o?ences with a minimum sentence of 37 months and a maximum of 71 months (7 o?ences, e.g. threatening, car theft, drugs tra?c), and score three to six o?ences with a maximum sentence of 72 months or higher (6 offences, e.g. burglary, rape, armed robbery). For each respondent, a sum score was computed over these 20 acts, with a possible range of 0–39.


Coleta van Dam et al. / Personality and Individual Di?erences 39 (2005) 7–19

1.2.4. Criminal records O?cial criminal records were requested from the Criminal Justice Department of the Ministry of Justice. These ?les contain all committed o?ences that were sent to court. For all released o?enders criminal record ?les were obtained with a minimum follow-up period of 7 months, and a maximum follow-up period of 52 months (mean 29 months). Each criminal o?ence recorded in this ?le after the date of release from the detention centre was regarded as recidivism. To determine a measure of severity of recidivism, for each o?ence the maximum sentence according to the Dutch penal code was registered. A mean score of severity of recidivism was obtained by summing the maximum sentences of all re-o?ences and dividing this score by the total number of o?ences after release. 1.3. Procedure With regard to the detained o?ender group, questionnaires were administered to them by their teachers during educational training hours. In the released o?ender group, questionnaires and instructions were sent by post, and collected by an interviewer. During the visit, respondents were asked to ?ll out the Self-Report list for Delinquent Behaviour (SRDB). Questionnaires were administered to the college student group, during classroom hours. All respondents took part voluntarily, and anonymity and con?dentiality were guaranteed. 2. Results 2.1. Preliminary analyses In Table 1 correlations between the dimensions of both instruments are presented for college students and o?enders. Extraversion and Neuroticism of the EPQ-R are positively related to Extraversion and Neuroticism of the SBF in both samples. Psychoticism of the EPQ-R is negatively related to both Conscientiousness and Agreeableness of the SBF. We found a signi?cant

Table 1 Correlations between the dimensions of the EPQ-R and the SBF for college students (N = 204) and o?enders (N = 96) SBF EPQ-R Psychoticism St Extraversion Neuroticism Conscientiousness Agreeableness Openness St = college students. Of = o?enders. * p < .05. ** p < .01. ?.00 .07 ?.31** ?.28** ?.06 Of ?.25 .22** ?.27** ?.39** ?.21**

Neuroticism St ?.27 .53** .07 ?.08 .03

Extraversion Of ?.37 .49** ?.29** ?.15 .03

St .47 ?.12 .06 .15* .29**

Of .45** .01 ?.03 .26** .26*

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negative correlation between Openness and Psychoticism, but only for o?enders. A signi?cant correlation between Openness of the SBF and Extraversion of the EPQ-R was found in both samples. Analysis of the concordance in occurrence of o?cially recorded and self-reported recidivism revealed a tendency (v2 = 3.50, p < .10). With regard to severity, we found a signi?cant correlation between severity of self-reported and o?cially recorded recidivism (r = .44, p < .01). 2.2. Di?erentiating college students from o?enders In order to examine whether the Big Five and/or the PEN-model distinguished o?enders from college students, two MANOVA?s were conducted. In Table 2 mean scores on the personality dimensions of o?enders and college students, univariate and multivariate F-ratio?s and explained variances (eta?s) are presented. The multivariate F was signi?cant for both models, indicating that both models are able to di?erentiate between college students and o?enders. Univariate analyses revealed that college students scored signi?cantly higher on PEN?s Extraversion than o?enders. No signi?cant di?erences were found in Extraversion of the Big Five model and Neuroticism of both models. Analyses on Psychoticism, Conscientiousness and Agreeableness showed that college students scored signi?cantly higher on Agreeableness, but not on Psychoticism and Conscientiousness. College students also scored signi?cantly higher on Openness than o?enders. 2.3. Di?erentiating recidivists from non-recidivists To examine which model, PEN or Big Five, di?erentiated best between recidivists and nonrecidivists, MANOVA?s were carried out. In Table 3 mean scores on the PEN and Big Five

Table 2 Multivariate analysis of variance for the PEN and Big Five dimensions in college students (N = 204) and o?enders (N = 96) College students M PEN Extraversion Neuroticism Psychoticism Big Five Extraversion Neuroticism Conscientiousness Agreeableness Openness
* **

O?enders M 14.82 9.19 10.98 4.66 3.25 4.66 5.05 4.48 S.D. 3.88 4.78 4.56 1.09 1.14 1.08 1.10 1.01

F 3.15* 9.08** .29 .44 4.30** .00 .83 .06 7.76** 16.49**

g2 .03 .03 .00 .00 .07 .00 .00 .00 .03 .05

S.D. 3.63 4.50 3.89 1.07 1.06 1.04 .86 .92

16.21 8.88 10.64 4.67 3.27 4.63 5.37 4.96

p < .05. p < .01.


Coleta van Dam et al. / Personality and Individual Di?erences 39 (2005) 7–19

Table 3 Multivariate analysis of variance for the PEN and Big Five dimensions in recidivists and non-recidivists according to o?cial records and self-report Non-recidivists M O?cial criminal records N PEN Extraversion Neuroticism Psychoticism Big Five Extraversion Neuroticism Conscientiousness Agreeableness Openness Self-reported recidivism N PEN Extraversion Neuroticism Psychoticism Big Five Extraversion Neuroticism Conscientiousness Agreeableness Openness
* **

Recidivists S.D. M 37 3.33 5.09 3.76 1.11 1.18 .97 .93 .91 16.70 9.27 11.19 5.01 3.22 4.66 5.13 4.64 3.28 5.22 4.81 1.02 1.16 .98 .81 1.04 S.D.



24 14.83 9.25 9.54 4.89 3.03 4.70 5.50 4.65

2.50 4.67* .00 2.01 1.15 .20 .39 .02 2.77 .00

.12 .07 .00 .03 .10 .00 .00 .00 .05 .00

14 16.29 7.86 7.64 5.38 2.43 4.85 5.67 4.65 2.46 5.02 2.24 .92 .88 1.09 .97 1.15

43 16.02 9.44 11.72 4.85 3.32 4.59 5.13 4.60 3.51 5.24 4.48 1.09 1.20 .94 .82 .93 3.45* .07 .99 10.64** 1.90 2.66 6.54** .72 4.14** .03 .16 .00 .02 .16 .16 .05 .11 .01 .07 .00

p < .05. p < .01.

dimensions of recidivists and non-recidivists, univariate and multivariate F-ratio?s and explained variances (eta) are reported. Results are presented separately for o?cial recorded recidivism and self-reported recidivism. With regard to o?cial recorded recidivism, neither PEN or Big Five could signi?cantly di?erentiate between recidivists and non-recidivists; for both models the multivariate F was not signi?cant. Univariate analyses revealed only one signi?cant di?erence: recidivists scored signi?cantly higher than non-recidivists on PEN?s Extraversion. Regarding self-reported recidivism, it appeared that the multivariate F of PEN was signi?cant, indicating that PEN is able to distinguish recidivists from non-recidivists. The multivariate F of the Big Five model revealed no signi?cant e?ect. Univariate analyses revealed that recidivists scored signi?cantly higher on Neuroticism of the Big Five, but not on Neuroticism of the PEN-model. Moreover, recidivists scored signi?cantly higher on Psychoticism, and lower on Agreeableness than non-recidivists.

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Table 4 Multiple regression analyses predicting severity of o?cial and self-reported recidivism from the PEN and Big Five model Severity of o?cial recidivism Beta PEN Extraversion Neuroticism Psychoticism Big Five Extraversion Neuroticism Conscientiousness Agreeableness Openness

Severity of self-reported recidivism R2 .10 Beta .03 ?.10 .57** .04 .11 .00 .21 .01 ?.24 .03 R2 .28**

.24 ?.07 .23 ?.03 .00 .11 ?.25 .11

p < .01.

2.4. Predicting severity of recidivism To examine which of both models was better able to predict the severity of o?cial and self-reported recidivism, multiple regression analyses were conducted. In Table 4 results of these analyses are presented separately for severity of o?cial and self-reported recidivism. Neither the PEN or the Big Five model could signi?cantly predict severity of o?cial recidivism. Self-reported recidivism could signi?cantly be predicted from the PEN model, but not from the Big Five. Only Psychoticism was a strong predictor of severity of recidivism. The P-related dimensions of the Big Five, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, were not signi?cant related to severity.

3. Discussion The aim of this study was to examine which of the two personality models, PEN or Big Five, di?erentiated best between o?enders and college students, and between recidivists and non-recidivists. It was shown that both models were able to di?erentiate o?enders from college students. The dimensions Extraversion (PEN), Agreeableness and Openness appeared to be lower in the o?ender sample. With regard to occurrence of recidivism, it appeared that only self-reported recidivism could be predicted by PEN. Analyses on single dimensions revealed that Extraversion (PEN) was higher in o?cially recorded recidivists compared to non-recidivists. The dimensions Psychoticism and Neuroticism (Big Five) were higher and Agreeableness was lower in self-reported recidivists. Concerning severity of recidivism it was shown that PEN was related to severity of self-reported recidivism. Psychoticism appeared to be the only signi?cant predictor of severity of self-reported recidivism.


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Both PEN and Big Five model could discriminate o?enders from college students. Univariate analyses showed di?erences in Extraversion of PEN, but not in Extraversion of the Big Five. This was an unexpected ?nding, because preliminary analyses revealed a signi?cant relation between both Extraversion dimensions. A further look at the items of both Extraversion scales showed that the Extraversion scale of the Big Five is actually a reversed introversion scale. This scale contains the adjectives talkative, introverted, quiet, reserved, withdrawn and bashful. PEN?s Extraversion scale consists of items which resemble these introversion adjectives, but it also includes items considering traits like liveliness, sociability and sensation seeking. Probably it are those latter traits of PEN?s Extraversion that are di?erent for college students and o?enders, since PEN?s Extraversion did discriminate college students and o?enders and the Big Five?s Extraversion didn?t. Then, according to Eysenck?s hypothesis, we expected o?enders to score higher on PEN?s Extraversion than students. Surprisingly, the opposite appeared to be true; o?enders were lower on Extraversion than students. These low scores on Extraversion might be explained by the so-called incarceration e?ect. Eysenck (1987) pointed to the fact that incarcerated people cannot properly answer on the social activity questions which are part of the Extraversion scale. In order to examine whether this incarceration e?ect is relevant in our o?ender sample, we compared Extraversion scores of the detained o?ender sub sample with the released o?ender sub sample. A signi?cant di?erence appeared; detained o?enders were signi?cantly lower on Extraversion of both PEN and Big Five than released o?enders and college students. So we might conclude that the unexpected low scores of o?enders on Extraversion are probably due to the e?ects of incarceration. Findings of the comparison of PEN and Big Five in predicting the occurrence of recidivism showed little discriminating power of both models. Univariate analyses demonstrated di?erences between o?cially recorded recidivists and non-recidivists with regard to Extraversion of PEN, but again not with Extraversion of the Big Five. As stated above, comparison of both scales revealed that the Big Five?s Extraversion actually represents reversed Introversion, while PEN?s Extraversion also contains aspects regarding sensation seeking and social activity. Apparently, it are those latter aspects that are related to recidivism, and not the aspects concerning introversion. It is suggested that personality characteristics like sensation seeking and social activity, are related to the chance of getting caught by the police (Romero et al., 2001). People who are impulsive, sociable and adventurous, easily attract the attention of the police, and therefore are more at risk to get caught. This seems to be a plausible explanation for our ?nding that PEN?s Extraversion is only related to o?cially recorded recidivism, and not to self-reported recidivism. Psychoticism was strongly related to the occurrence of self-reported recidivism. Blackburn (1993) and Gudjonsson (1997) stated that high Psychoticism scores characterise the more serious and persistent o?enders. These statements are endorsed by our ?ndings. Farrington, Birron, and Le Blanc (1982) have insisted that the relationship between Psychoticism and delinquency may be tautological, since the instruments for measuring Psychoticism contain items relating to antisocial behaviour. Heaven (1993) and Romero et al. (2001), however, eliminated P-items that were conceptually related to antisocial behaviour, and still found relations between Psychoticism and selfreported delinquent behaviour. Neuroticism and Agreeableness of the Big Five were also related to occurrence of self-reported recidivism. As stated before, Agreeableness is assumed to be part of Psychoticism, so this ?nding is consistent with the ?nding that Psychoticism is involved in the occurrence of self-reported

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recidivism. Despite the relation between Neuroticism of the Big Five and recidivism, Neuroticism of PEN was not signi?cantly related to occurrence of recidivism, though di?erences were in the expected direction. That Neuroticism is related to recidivism is consistent with Eysenck?s theory. High Neuroticism scores refer to emotional instability, which can lead to impulsive and antisocial behavior. The combination of high Neuroticism with high Psychoticism is often found in o?ender samples (Blackburn, 1993; Gudjonsson, 1997). Our preliminary results on the correlations between PEN and Big Five revealed a signi?cant relation between Neuroticism of the Big Five and Psychoticism in the o?ender sample. Severity of o?cially recorded recidivism cannot be signi?cantly predicted by one of the personality dimensions. While PEN?s Extraversion was related to the occurrence of o?cially recorded recidivism, it appeared not to be signi?cantly related to severity of o?cially recorded recidivism. As could be expected from the results on occurrence of self-reported recidivism, Psychoticism also appeared to be a strong predictor for severity of self-reported recidivism. While Neuroticism of the Big Five and Agreeableness were related to occurrence of self-reported recidivism, they were not related to severity. It is remarkable that results regarding relations between personality dimensions and recidivism were di?erent for o?cially recorded and self-reported recidivism. This raises questions about the comparability of both recidivism measures. We found some concordance between both measures, however not very strong. Explanations for the di?erences found concern the dark number (not caught by the police) of o?cial records, and the reliability of the self-report answers. Most important however, is the ?nding that di?erent sources of recidivism lead to di?erent conclusions on which personality dimensions are relevant. When only o?cially recorded recidivism was measured, only PEN?s Extraversion would emerge as being relevant. When only self-reported recidivism was used, PEN?s Psychoticism and Big Five?s Neuroticism and Agreeableness would emerge as being relevant. Our results show that it is important to use more sources of information. A conclusion that was also drawn by Farrington (1995) and Babinski et al. (2001). This study shows that both models can di?erentiate between college students and o?enders, and partially recidivists and non-recidivists. Eysenck (1998) pointed to the fact that o?enders are not a homogeneous group and probably the same holds for recidivists. Several attempts have been made in searching for di?erent personality pro?les in o?enders, in order to oblige to this heterogeneity of o?enders (Daderman, 1999; McGurk & McDougall, 1981). In this study an attempt was made to search for relations between separate personality dimensions and recidivism. For future research it would be useful to search for personality pro?les in released o?ender samples. Which personality pro?les are more at risk for recidivism? Furthermore, it appeared that personality dimensions explain little in variance of recidivism. In several studies on the development and continuation of delinquency, it was shown that environmental factors are also important in explaining delinquency (Farrington, 1995). For future research, it might be useful to search for interactions between personality and environmental factors. Perhaps it is personality pro?les, in combination with some speci?c environmental factors after release that can explain why some persons re-o?end and persist in their criminal behaviour, and others do not. Another useful approach is examining recidivism in a prospective study. The prediction of recidivism strictly requires control of the temporal order of variables, and examina-


Coleta van Dam et al. / Personality and Individual Di?erences 39 (2005) 7–19

tion of whether traits measured at a particular moment in time are associated with future recidivism. Finally, this study was conducted in a particular juvenile detention centre for correctional treatment in the Netherlands. The small number of respondents in our study must be taken into account too. Results must therefore be interpreted with caution and further studies on larger samples and more institutions are necessary to draw more ?nal conclusions.

Aleixo, P. A., & Norris, C. E. (2000). Personality and moral reasoning in young o?enders. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 28, 609–623. ? ? Avia, M. D., Sanz, J., Sanchez-Bernardos, M. L., Martinez-Arias, M. R., Silva, F., & Grana, J. L. (1995). The ?vefactor model—II. Relations of the NEO-PI with other personality variables. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 19, 81–97. Babinski, L. M., Hartsough, C. S., & Lambert, N. M. (2001). A comparison of self-report of criminal involvement and o?cial arrest records. Aggressive Behavior, 27, 44–54. Blackburn, R. (1993). The psychology of criminal conduct: Theory, research and practice. Chichester: John Wiley. Boendermaker, L. (1998). Eind goed al goed. De leefsituatie van jongeren een jaar na vertrek uit een justitiele ¨ behandelinrichting. Den Haag: WODC [Fare well, all well. The living situation of youngsters one year after their release from a juvenile correctional treatment centre]. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Four ways ?ve factors are basic. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 13(6), 653–665. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1995). Primary traits of Eysenck?s P–E–N system: Three- and ?ve-factor solutions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 308–317. Daderman, A. M. (1999). Di?erences between severely conduct-disordered juvenile males and normal juvenile males: the study of personality traits. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 26, 827–845. Daderman, A. M., Meurling, A., & Hallman, J. (2001). Wirsen Di?erent personality patterns in non-socialized (juvenile delinquents) and socialized (Air force pilot recruits) sensation seekers. European Journal of Personality, 15, 239–252. Eysenck, H. J. (1977). Crime and personality. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Eysenck, H. J. (1987). Personality theory and the problem of criminality. In B. J. McGurk, D. M. Thornton, & M. Williams (Eds.), Applying psychology to imprisonment (pp. 29–58). London: HMSO. Eysenck, H. J. (1991). Dimensions of personality: 16, 5 or 3? Criteria for a taxonomic paradigm. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 12, 773–790. Eysenck, H. J. (1992). Four ways ?ve factors are not basic. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 13(6), 667–673. Eysenck, H. J. (1998). Personality and crime. In T. Millon, E. Simonsen, M. Birket-Smith, & R. D. Davis (Eds.), Psychopathy: Antisocial, criminal, and violent behavior (pp. 40–49). New York: The Guilford Press. Eysenck, S. B. G., & Eysenck, H. J. (1974). Personality and recidivism in Borstal boys. British Journal of Criminology, 14, 385–387. Eysenck, S. B. G., Eysenck, H. J., & Barrett, P. (1985). A revised version of the psychoticism scale. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 6, 21–29. Eysenck, H. J., & Gudjonsson, G. H. (1989). The causes and cures of criminality. New York: Plenum Press. Farrington, D. P. (1995). The development of o?ending and antisocial behaviour from childhood: Key ?ndings from the Cambridge study in delinquent development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36, 929–964. Farrington, D. P., Birron, L., & Le Blanc, M. (1982). Personality and delinquency in London and Montreal. In J. Gunn & D. P. Farrington (Eds.), Abnormal o?enders, delinquency and the criminal justice system (pp. 121–148). New York: Wiley. Gerris, J. R. M., Houtmans, M. J. M., Kwaaitaal-Roosen, E. M. G., Schipper, J. C., Vermulst, A. A., & Janssens, J. M. A. M. (1998). Parents, adolescents and young adults in Dutch families: A longitudinal study. Nijmegen: Institute of Family Studies.

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Goldberg, L. R. (1990). An alternative description of personality: The Big-Five factor structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 1216–1229. Gudjonsson, G. H. (1997). Crime and personality. In H. Nyborg (Ed.), The scienti?c study of human nature: Tribute to Hans J. Eysenck at eighty (pp. 142–164). Oxford: Pergamon. Heaven, P. C. L. (1993). Personality predictors of self-reported delinquency. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 14, 67–76. Heaven, P. C. L. (1996). Personality and self-reported delinquency: analysis of the Big Five personality dimensions. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 20, 47–54. Heaven, P. C. L., & Virgen, M. (2001). Personality, perceptions of family and peer in?uences, and males? self-reported delinquency. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 30, 321–331. John, O. P., Caspi, A., Robins, R. W., Mo?tt, T. E., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1994). The little Five: Exploring the nomological network of the Five-Factor model of personality in adolescent boys. Child Development, 65, 160–178. McGurk, B. J., & McDougall, C. (1981). A new approach to Eysenck?s theory of criminality. Personality and Individual di?erences, 3, 338–340. Morizot, J., & Blanc, M. (2003). Le Continuity and change in personality traits from adolescence to midlife; a 25-year longitudinal study comparing representative and adjudicated men. Journal of Personality, 71, 706–755. Romero, E., Luengo, M., & Sobral, J. (2001). Angeles Personality and antisocial behaviour: Study of temperamental dimensions. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 31, 329–348. Saggino, A. (2000). The Big Three or the Big Five? A replication study. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 28, 879–886. Scholte, R. H. J., & De Bruyn, E. E. J. (2004). Comparison of the Giant Three and the Big Five. Personality and Individual Di?erences, 36, 1353–1371. van Aken, M. A. G., van Lieshout, C. F. M., & Scholte, R. H. J. (1998). The social relationships and adjustment of the various personality types and subtypes. In Paper presented at the VIIth biennial meeting of the Society of Research on adolescence, San Diego, CA.


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