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Mediating the Low Verbal Intelligence–Early Adult Offending Relationship With Pro-Aggression Attitudes
Criminal Justice and Behavior  (IF2.801),  Pub Date : 2021-07-26, DOI: 10.1177/00938548211034220
Glenn D. Walters

This study was designed to explore a possible mechanism for the well-documented relationship between low verbal intelligence and early adult offending. It was hypothesized that low verbal intelligence, as measured by a brief vocabulary test, would predict higher pro-aggression thinking, which would then encourage future antisocial behavior. This hypothesis was tested in a longitudinal analysis of 411 male youths from the Cambridge Study of Delinquent Development (CSDD). After controlling for school performance, truancy, impulsivity, peer delinquency, and nonverbal intelligence, a path analysis revealed that low verbal intelligence at age 14 or 15 predicted violent offending (fighting) and property offending at age 21 or 22 by way of late adolescent pro-aggression attitudes. From these results, it was speculated that one mechanism linking low verbal intelligence to early adult offending is an attitude favorable to personal violation of the rights of others, in line with predictions from general personality and cognitive social learning (GPCSL) theory.