Criminal thinking and self-control among drug users in court mandated treatment

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This article aims to explore the relationship between self-control and criminal thinking in a population of drug using offenders attending a court mandated treatment programme, and how this relates to recent offending and substance use. Fifty drug using offenders attending a Birmingham Drug Intervention Programme clinic under the terms of a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR) completed standardized measures of self-control and criminal thinking. Associations were found between both self-control and criminal thinking and drug use and offending. A strong association was found between low self-control and high criminal thinking. Lower levels of self-control were associated with younger age, and there was some evidence of a link between younger age and higher criminal thinking. The links between drug use and crime are more complex than could be explained by either the self-control model of crime or criminal thinking alone, although the current findings suggest a mediating role for age and indications that drugs-crime linkage is mediated by patterns of substance use and offending.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-110
Number of pages18
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • self-control, thinking styles, offending patterns, drugs-crime linkage, coerced treatment