The learning theory model of punishment: Implications for Delinquency Deterrence


Journal Article

Both the experimental laboratory model of punishment and the juvenile justice system's negative sanctioning process have a common goal of suppressing undesired behavior. The psychological literature on the experimental model of punishment contains a number of principles that have been demonstrated to improve the effectivenss of punishment in suppressing behaviors under controlled study. This article presents five of these principles, which yield predictions about deterrence of illegal acts by the use of negative sactions in the form of testable hypotheses. The principles are (1) intensity, (2) temporal proximity, (3) availability of reward, (4) schedule of delivery, and (5) availability of alternative behaviors. Following discussion of these principles and their implications for juvenile sanctioning, cautionary comments are made. The article concludes with the reminder that application of any of the principles of punishment would be premature without research aimed at exploration of the numerous issues brought up in the course of this exploratory article. © 1983, SAGE PUBLICATIONS. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Moffitt, TE

Published Date

  • January 1, 1983

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 10 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 131 - 158

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-3594

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0093-8548

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0093854883010002001

Citation Source

  • Scopus