Violent criminal behavior: Is there a general and continuing influence of the South?


Journal Article

Historically, the South has been characterized by high homicide rates relative to other regions in the United States. The present study attempts to make sense of the disparate findings among extant studies of the Southern culture of violence thesis by correcting for their methodological problems and by examining violent crime rates at three levels of aggregation-cities, metropolitan areas, and states-and across three decennial census periods-1960, 1970, and 1980. Whereas most studies of the Southern culture of violence thesis use homicide rates as the focal measure of violent behavior, the present study investigates the generalizability of the Southern culture of violence thesis to other violent index crimes. In addition, the models are also compared over time to determine whether the Southern regional effects persist over time and, if so, whether there is a diminishing effect of region. The results provide evidence for the existence of a Southern culture which supports situation-specific types of violence (i.e., defensive acts) rather than violence in general. Furhermore, the findings provide mixed support that cultural effects diminish over time. © 1992.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McCall, PL; Kenneth, CL; Cohen, LE

Published Date

  • January 1, 1992

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 286 - 310

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0049-089X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0049-089X(92)90009-6

Citation Source

  • Scopus