Peers and offender decision-making

E. M. Hoeben*, K. J. Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research Summary: Offender decision-making generally occurs in social context. In this article, we discuss the potential for integrating insights on peer processes and decision-making processes to advance our understanding on the decision to engage in crime. In particular, we address the developmental and situational influence of peers on perceptions, preferences, and dual-systems processing. We contribute to this literature by elaborating on situational peer processes and discuss the ways in which peers can affect decision-making through their mere presence as well as through their active involvement as instigators, conversational partners, and co-offenders. Policy Implications: Programs to effectively reduce crime and delinquency require a holistic approach that takes into account the interdependency between internal and external factors that impact behavior. The purpose of this article was to detail how our understanding of two prominent explanations of crime —peer influence and rational choice—can mutually benefit from such integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-784
Number of pages26
JournalCriminology and Public Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • offender decision-making
  • peer influence


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