Offenders’ Crime Narratives Across Different Types of Crimes

Maria Ioannou, David Canter, Donna Youngs, John Synnott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The current study explores the roles offenders see themselves playing during an offense and their relationship to different crime types. One hundred and twenty incarcerated offenders indicated the narrative roles they acted out while committing a specific crime they remembered well. The data were subjected to Smallest Space Analysis (SSA) and four themes were identified: Hero, Professional, Revenger, and Victim in line with the recent theoretical framework posited for narrative offense roles (Youngs & Canter, 2012). Further analysis showed that different subsets of crimes were more likely to be associated with different narrative offense roles. Hero and Professional were found to be associated with property offenses (theft, burglary, and shoplifting), drug offenses, and robbery, while Revenger and Victim were found to be associated with violence, sexual offenses, and murder. The theoretical implications for understanding crime on the basis of offenders’ narrative roles as well as practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-400
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychology Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2015


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