Criminal-thinking styles and illegal behavior among college students: Validation of the PICTS

Katrina McCoy, William Fremouw, Elizabeth Tyner, Carl Clegg, Jill Johansson-Love, Julia Strunk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The present study examined the relation of self-reported criminal-thinking styles and self-reported illegal behavior among college students. Participants were 177 male and 216 female (N=393) undergraduate students. Participants were divided by gender and further classified into four groups of self-reported illegal behavior: control-status offenses, drug crimes, property crimes, and violent crimes against people. The psychological inventory of criminal-thinking styles (PICTS) (1) measured criminal-thinking patterns on eight scales. Results indicated that males who committed violent crimes against people endorsed significantly higher levels of distorted criminal-thinking patterns on all scales than the control-status offenses, and drug crimes groups. Interestingly, female participants who committed property crimes displayed six significantly elevated PICTS scales whereas females with violent crimes against people had significant elevations on only four of the criminal-thinking style scales. These results extend Walter's initial validation of the PICTS with incarcerated respondents to a nonincarcerated population and show potential use of the PICTS with other populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1174-1177
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Criminal-thinking styles
  • Forensic science
  • Illegal behavior
  • Psychological inventory of criminal-thinking styles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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