Disputatiousness and the Offender–Victim Overlap
We examine whether offenders are at greater risk of violent victimization than non-offenders because of their disputatiousness; that is, their tendency to become involved in verbal conflicts. We also examine whether offenders are more disputatious because of their low self-control, alcohol use, and honor-based attitudes and whether disputatiousness can explain the effects of these individual differences on violent victimization.
A series of regression models examine self-reported data from 503 male inmates and 220 men (N = 723) they know from the community who have never been arrested.
Disputatiousness accounts for a substantial portion of the relationship between victimization and offending (i.e., inmate status). Disputatiousness also mediates the relationships between victimization and frequent intoxication, low self-control, and honor-based attitudes. Low self-control and heavy alcohol use account for a substantial portion of the relationship between offending and disputatiousness. Disputatiousness and victimization are associated with a history of assaultive offenses but not a history of robbery.
The tendency to become involved in verbal conflicts can partly explain high victimization rates among male offenders, and among men who lack self-control, are frequently intoxicated, and have strong concerns about protecting their honor.