The Contextual Generality of Crime: Workplace and Street Crime Journal Article uri icon



  • Objectives: We examine whether individuals engage in crime across a variety of different settings (contextual generality). Specifically, we assess whether individuals who engage in workplace crime will engage in street crime and whether certain individuals have a greater tendency to engage in workplace crime relative to street crime. We are guided by trait-based theories, learning theories, and strain theories to guide our expectations related to the contextual generality of criminal behavior. Methods: We analyze data from the National Youth Survey and conduct multinomial logistic regressions, item response theory, and ordinary least squares regressions. We supplement this with the Youth Development Survey and the Pathways to Desistance Study. Results: There is a small overlap between workplace crime and street crime. Participation in each context is related to context-specific perceived coworker/peer disapproval and deviant workplace definitions. There is a tendency for some respondents to specialize in workplace crime relative to street crime. Conclusions: Contextual generality in criminal behavior is a fruitful avenue to study theoretical debates between theories of population heterogeneity and theories that allow for specific types of offending. More studies are needed to extend this line of inquiry.

publication date

  • April 20, 2023

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • February 7, 2024 10:28 AM

Full Author List

  • Nguyen H; McNealey R; Thomas KJ

author count

  • 3

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-4278

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-731X

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 002242782311660

end page

  • 002242782311660