An examination of predictors of punitive attitudes about crime reduction in Saskatchewan
This thesis conducted a secondary quantitative analysis to test predictors of punitive attitudes about the best overall and youth crime reduction methods in Saskatchewan, and to examine an integrated perspective developed from Bourdieu’s concept of habitus. My research questions were twofold: 1) What are the valid predictors of punitive attitudes toward overall and youth crime respectively? 2) Is there a difference in punitive attitudes between overall crime and youth crime? For my research methodology, I relied on a secondary quantitative analysis of data from Taking the Pulse of Saskatchewan 2012, a survey conducted by the Social Sciences Research Laboratories (SSRL) of the University of Saskatchewan. The data used in this thesis was taken from Section (F), Crime and Public Safety in Saskatchewan, and Section (H), demographics. I examined three types of predictors: demographics, fear of crime, and perception of crime trends. The demographic variables were gender, age, education, marital status, race, and total annual household income. The relationship between these predictors and the public’s punitive attitudes were first examined with a bivariate analysis. Then logistic regression analysis was used to determine the effect of a selected predictor of punitive attitudes when other predictors were controlled. This thesis reported three major findings. First, the mutual predictors of punitive attitudes towards overall and youth crime are age, education, marital status, and perceived crime trends, while gender is significant only for overall crime, and race is significant only for youth crime when other variables are controlled. Secondly, with regard to the magnitude of influence, the variables perceived crime trends and education are the strongest predictors among all the predictors considered in this study, but any single predictor only has small impact on punitive attitudes. Finally, respondents are generally less punitive towards youth crime than overall crime. This thesis revealed that an integrated Bourdieuian perspective used in this study helped link the predictors in a more explanatory manner, and contributed to a more critical and contextual understanding of punitive attitudes. The empirical results reported in this thesis produced knowledge about punitive attitudes in Saskatchewan, and contributed to the literature on predictors of such attitudes.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
Copyright DateAugust 2015
predictors of punitive attitudes