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A criminological approach to explain chronic drunk driving

The purpose of this paper is to use criminological theories to explain chronic drunk driving. There is little criminological research explaining recidivist drunk driving with criminological theories. Instead, most researchers posit that repeat drunk driving is explained as a byproduct of substance abuse. Although substance abuse is likely correlated to chronic drunk driving, theoretical explanations need to go further to understand a broader set of social and psychological predictors. Factor analysis and linear regression techniques are used to estimate the relationship between items from two assessment instruments with a number of drunken driving offenses. The sample consists of nearly 3,500 individuals on probation and parole in a Southwestern state. The findings support our contention that criminological frameworks are helpful to understand chronic DUI. We found significant results for volatility, antisocial friends, teenage deviance, and negative views of the law, while controlling for age, gender, marital status, and race. DUIs are a serious problem for the criminal justice system and understanding the individual level correlates of repetitive DUI is crucial for policy development. Further, chronic DUI offers criminologists an opportunity to determine the ability of criminological theories to explain this type of behavior.


DeMichele, M., Lowe, NC., & Payne, BK. (2014). A criminological approach to explain chronic drunk driving. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(2), 292-314. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12103-013-9216-4

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