PERSONALITY DIFFERENCES IN PREDICTING ASSAULT AND BINGE DRINKING: VARIATION ACROSS EXPLANATORY FACTORS AND GENDER
General theories of offending seem to be favored in recent criminological literature, with the assumption being that the same factor(s) cause all forms of deviance and criminality. However, there is a case to be made for crime-specific models that predict different types of individuals will commit varying forms of deviant behavior. Using survey data collected from 108 female and 116 male college students, we measured their levels of various personality traits–empathy, guilt, detachment, and externalization–as well as their incidence of assault and binge drinking over the previous year. It was predicted that detachment and/or externalization would have significant positive associations with assault and binge drinking among college students, and that the effects of detachment and externalization would prevail even after the influence of other emotions, such as guilt and empathy, were accounted for. It was also inferred that guilt and empathy would have varying effects regarding both types of offenses. Additionally, it was anticipated that the effects of detachment and externalization, as well as other self-conscious emotions and the acts of criminal offenses, would differ significantly by gender. Findings from estimated regression equations showed that while the predictors explained a relatively large amount of variation in both acts, virtually all predictors had opposite effects on the two behaviors. Furthermore, gender differences varied greatly across the estimated models of offenses.