A comparison of self-report of criminal involvement and official arrest records
Self-reports of arrests and official arrest records were compared for 250 male and 80 female participants in the ongoing Hyperactivity Follow-Up Study of Young Adults at University of California at Berkeley. For males, kappa coefficients indicated good statistical agreement between arrest records and self-report measures for 7 of the 12 types of crimes. Statistical agreement, however, may not be the most meaningful yardstick to judge concordance. Additional analyses reveal that for almost all of the crimes examined, one third or more of those with an arrest record for the crime failed to reveal this information on the self-report measure. Arrests for both some high-frequency, less serious crimes and some low-frequency, more serious crimes were not revealed in the subjects' self-reports. An examination of the unique information gained from self-reports found that the subjects most often reported committing public disorder crimes for which they were not caught (over 30%) and were least likely to self-report crimes against people (less than 10%). Furthermore, subjects with more convictions were more likely to accurately self-report their criminal involvement. Since both self-report and official records each contribute unique information and reflect different sources of error, it is proposed that a combination of both types of records is the most inclusive indicator of criminal activity in adulthood. Aggr. Behav. 27:44-54, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Babinski, LM; Hartsough, CS; Lambert, NM
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