Integrating mainstream criminological theory into the biosocial perspective: An empirical analysis


Schwartz, Joseph A. (2014). Integrating mainstream criminological theory into the biosocial perspective: An empirical analysis.


Within the field of criminology, there is no shortage of theoretical perspectives. While these theoretical perspectives are quite diverse, they do share a common thread: an exclusive focus on social factors that contribute to criminal behavior. Despite the limited explanatory power of both classic and more recent criminological theories, an overt sociological focus persists within criminological theory. In direct contrast, the biosocial perspective offers a more comprehensive explanation of behavior, with a focus on both biological and environmental influences. Despite the contributions of the biosocial perspective in elucidating the underlying etiology of antisocial behavior, there is currently a paucity of theories which can be effectively situated within the biosocial perspective. In an effort to spark theoretical development within the biosocial perspective, this dissertation proposes a biosocial integration model which allows for various forms of theoretical development and integration. In addition, four mainstream criminological theories--rational choice theory, social learning theory, classic strain theory, and social bonding theory--were empirically examined using genetically sensitive research designs in an attempt to fit such theories within the biosocial perspective. The results revealed three key findings. First, nearly all (more than 80 percent) of the measures examined in this dissertation were significantly influenced by genes. Second, while multivariate regression models identified a large number of significant associations between key theoretical concepts and antisocial behavior, many of these associations fell from statistical significance after controlling for genetic and shared environmental influences. Third, even after controlling for genetic influences, some theoretical concepts were significantly associated with antisocial behavior and substance use. Additional models revealed that several theoretical concepts also significantly moderated genetic influences on the examined outcomes. The findings are contextualized within the extant literature and suggestions for future research and theoretical development are discussed.



Social sciences


Copyright - Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2014

Reference Type


Book Title

Criminology and Criminal Justice


Schwartz, Joseph A.

Series Author(s)

Beaver, Kevin M.

Year Published


Volume Number





The Florida State University

City of Publication

Ann Arbor





Reference ID