Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-15-2022


Recidivism is costly and damaging to society. Despite the narrowing gender gap in the criminal justice system, research on female recidivism falls behind that in males. Biopsychosocial theories suggest a combination of psychosocial and neurobiological factors likely promotes criminal risk in females. This study examined the utility of various risk factors in predicting recidivism in female offenders (n = 298). Results highlight specific psychosocial risk factors (i.e., impulsive/antisocial psychopathic traits, incarceration history, substance use, education, and age) that were especially helpful in identifying females at elevated risk. A particularly novel aspect of this study was incorporation of structural and functional neuroimaging to test whether its inclusion improved prediction, beyond psychosocial risk factors. Results revealed slight improvement in classification with increasingly sophisticated brain data, primarily reflecting deficits in frontal and parietal regions. Studies like this advance biopsychosocial theories of criminality, and inform prediction and risk assessment efforts in female offenders.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Kent A. Kiehl

Second Committee Member

Eric D. Claus

Third Committee Member

Brandi C. Fink

Fourth Committee Member

Barbara S. McCrady

Fifth Committee Member

Theresa B. Moyers




brain, crime, felony, female, offender, recidivism

Document Type


Available for download on Thursday, August 01, 2024