Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 173 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Colin Loftin

Committee Members

Alan Lizotte, David McDowall, Robert Apel, James Mercy


Add Health, BRFSS, poverty, risky behavior, value of life, violence, Life, Risk-taking (Psychology), Poverty, Violence

Subject Categories

Criminology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


My contribution to the study of causes of violence in criminology is introducing a theoretical concept of the Value of Life (VL) and developing an empirical solution to measuring it. The value that an individual implicitly assigns to the human life - both his/her own life and other people's lives - is a theoretical concept that synthesizes information about precursors, correlates, and determinates of violence. The VL concept provides a meaningful way to explain some phenomena not commonly associated with violent behavior (for example, reckless behavior with regard to one's health), while also illuminating some puzzling associations consistently found in empirical research (for example, correlations between the use of seatbelts, obesity, and smoking; the association of being neglected as a child with subsequent aggression and violence). I also hypothesize that the value of life mediates the relationship between poverty and violence. Thus, the first part of my dissertation is devoted to the review of relevant literature and outlining the value of life theory.

Included in

Criminology Commons