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Acción Psicológica

On-line version ISSN 2255-1271Print version ISSN 1578-908X


PEREZ, Esther  and  RUIZ, Sergio. Substance abuse as a risk factor for criminal behavior: a systematic review. Acción psicol. [online]. 2017, vol.14, n.2, pp.33-50.  Epub Sep 11, 2023. ISSN 2255-1271.

Delinquency is a social problem that deserves study to be prevented. Throughout history, the association between substance abuse and crime has been studied, although this relationship is unclear. The main aim of this paper is to present the latest findings concerning the consideration of substance use as a risk factor for crime. This paper is a systematic review of empirical studies regarding the study of substance as a possible risk factor for the development of criminal conduct, published between 2010 and 2015, in Spanish, English and Portuguese. A systematic search at Scopus, PsycINFO, Medline and Psicodoc was carried out, including a total of thirty-two studies reviewed with a checklist of the quality of epidemiological papers. The majority of papers focused on alcohol, cannabis or poly-drug use, and almost 80 % agree that consumption is a risk factor for the development of criminal behavior and some types of crimes. This review concludes that the knowledge that consumption represents a risk factor could be used as a means of prevention. The possibility of information bias limitation is highlighted.

Keywords : Delinquency; Substance use; Risk factors; Systematic review.

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