Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 132 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Graeme Newman

Committee Members

James Acker, Alan Lizotte, Allison Redlich, Hans Toch


Altruistic behavior, Fear of crime, International, Policy, Risk of victimization, Social disorganization theory, Altruism, Risk perception

Subject Categories

Criminology | Psychology | Sociology


Two studies investigate whether the perceived risk of criminal victimization reduces altruistic behavior as social disorganization theory predicts it will. The first study, of 160 nation-states, suggests not. Rather, the relationship depends on national culture. In highly religious countries, for example, the perceived risk of victimization actually appears to increase altruistic behavior. The second study, an experiment conducted on samples both of undergraduate students and internet users, suggests that certain individuals for whom the risk of criminal victimization may be particularly salient - volunteers worried they may be put in harm's way, and fatalists paranoid about the inevitability of victimization - can indeed by deterred from altruistic behavior under conditions of risk. Juxtaposed, the studies suggest not only that the relationship between the risk of criminal victimization and altruistic behavior is more complicated than expected, but also that, like criminal behavior, altruistic behavior might be as much a product of ecological factors as of individual dispositions.