Decision-Making in Serious Violence and Offence-Related Shame and/or Guilt

Mottershead, Trixie
(2023) Decision-Making in Serious Violence and Offence-Related Shame and/or Guilt. Doctor of Clinical Psychology thesis, University of Liverpool.

[thumbnail of 201533062_Jun2023_unedited_version.pdf] Text
201533062_Jun2023_unedited_version.pdf - Author Accepted Manuscript
Access to this file is restricted: this item is under permanent embargo.

Download (3MB)
[thumbnail of 201533062_Jun2023_edited_version.pdf] Text
201533062_Jun2023_edited_version.pdf - Author Accepted Manuscript

Download (3MB) | Preview


Objectives: To date, psychological theories of aggression have shown limited applicability to the first-hand experience of real-world violence. Examining the experiences of those directly involved in violent offending, may enable professionals to develop a strengthened and more refined understanding. The current study aimed to develop a theoretical model of offender experiences of decision-making, during the commission of a violent offence. Methods: The Critical Decision Method (CDM) for cognitive task analysis was conducted within a British prison, with nine participants who had been convicted of a serious violent offence. Interview transcripts were analysed using constructivist Grounded Theory (CGT). Results: Seven themes were interpreted from participant narratives: (i) predisposing influences, (ii) environment, (iii) emotion, (iv) triggering events, (v) decision to act, (vi) identity and (vii) severity of harm caused to the victim. Participants’ narratives were found to focus upon a process of decision-making which followed a sequence of events, from the impact of early experiences, through to the in-the-moment decisions, that led to acting in a violent manner. Conclusion: This study provides novel insights into the experience of violent decision-making. Participants emphasised the role of emotion and identity. A range of clinical implications are discussed which highlight the important role of emotion regulation and identity transformation in the rehabilitation of violent offenders.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Clinical Psychology)
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Population Health
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2024 09:48
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2024 09:49
DOI: 10.17638/03172115
  • Griffiths, Alys
  • Cole, Jon
  • Nathan, Taj