Emotional Intelligence as One of the Reasons for Recidivism
The above-illustrated factors individually or collectively enforce inclination of people towards acts of crime. However, their effects on an individual’s probability on recidivism depend on his or her emotional disposition (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2004). For instance, efficient management of emotions reduces one's vulnerability to peer pressure, increases the ability to understand and integrate into the society, and nurtures positive thoughts about the best ways that one can indulge in to earn a living even in an unfavorable economic condition. Erasmus (2007) reported that inappropriate behavior including recidivism result from the inability people to manage their emotions effectively. Aucoin (2005) further corroborated the conceptions of Erasmus by stating that most offenders show increased levels of emotional deficiency which makes them vulnerable to continued committing crimes irrespective of the type of punishment, its severity, and length of time to which they are subjected to punishment. Goleman (2006) establishes the relationship between emotional intelligence and re-offending by submitting that most recidivists suffer a deficiency in their mentality (Garcia-Sancho, Salguero & Fernandez-Berrocal, 2014). The social object in mind is essential for the expression of empathy, which is a critical aspect of emotional intelligence and for the regulation of emotional impulses.
In the recent decades, several types of research have been conducted to determine the correlated factors or predictors of recidivism. However, not so much has been devoted to contextualizing the role of emotional and psychological intelligence in influencing recidivism behaviors. Much of the literature often focus on the physical factors that lead to recidivism as opposed to emotions and emotional intelligence (Sharma, Prakash, Sengar, Chaudhury, & Singh, 2015). Nonetheless, it is indisputable that the human psychology expressly influences the thought process and execution of thought out decisions. Cherry (2014) points out that emotions are a complex state of feelings that affects the physical and psychological patterns. Moreover, emotions are defined as a significant aspect of the human motivation and nature (Bracket et al. 2004). It involves an individual’s thoughts and actions that singularly or collectively influence the physical behavior. Lopes et al. (2005) submits that understanding and perceiving other people’s emotions is important in interpreting their social cues (Staub, 2016). Therefore, when an individual fails to recognize emotions rightly, they are predisposed to making inappropriate decisions and taking wrong actions such as involvement in crime and recidivism.
Emotional Intelligence as a Cause of Recidivism
Within the realms of psychology, the ability of a person to manage his or her emotions is called emotional intelligence. Salovey and Mayer (1990) contended that emotional intelligence consists of four main branches. These aspects include identifying the emotions that entail the ability to discern personal feeling and the sense of people in the surrounding (Zajonc, 1980). The second point is the utilization of emotions to facilitate the thought process, which involves the comptenecy of genrating and resoning with emotions (Garcia-Sancho, Salguero & Fernandez-Berrocal, 2014). Third is understanding of emotions. Understanding of emotions encompasses one’s ability to understand the complex chains of emotions and their transitions (Staub, 2016). The fourth aspect involves managing own emotions as well as those of others. On his concept bout the concepts of emotional intelligence, Goleman (1995) partly agreed with the assertions of Mayer and Salovey. However, he emphasized on the fact that emotional intelligence comprises of all the four highlighted by Mayer and Salovey plus one extra called “motivating self.”
Understanding the construct of emotional Intelligence is not only important in developing a clear concept of how the psychological states of an individual influence his social function but also helps in predicting real life outcomes (Sharma, Prakash, Sengar, Chaudhury, & Singh, 2015). The concept of EI has links with several other psychological paradigms including social intelligence, multiple intelligence, and practical intelligence. EI is intricately related to the aggressive behavior and offending (Tsirigotis & Luczak, 2016. For instance, people who have a high emotional intelligence have the capacity to regulate their emotional dispositions and are less impulsive (Walters & Lowenkamp, 2016).
Why Recidivism Occurs
Contrary to the people with high EI, those with reduced emotional intelligence often display risky behaviors. They experience difficulty in coping with the realities of situations and the perspectives of other people. Therefore, they are mostly less empathetic (Sharma, Prakash, Sengar, Chaudhury, & Singh, 2015). Among criminals, a reduced capacity to manage personal emotions lead to sustained patterns of criminal behavior (Tsirigotis & Luczak, 2016). Among juveniles, the inability to moderate emotions results in a motivational force that undermines the ability to control anger, sexual arousal, assault, or theft. Impulsivity that defines the behavior of most criminals is a mental defect associated with low EI (Garcia-Sancho, Salguero & Fernandez-Berrocal, 2014). It forces the criminals to act without controlling their impulses, applying essential problem solving skills and considering the importance of social relations in their activities.
Poorly coordinated mental or thinking processes involving negative reflections and thoughts about contemporary situations prompt people to engage in illegal activities (Gillespie, et al., 2012). Most criminals undergo a struggle for self-identity and positioning within the wider society. These challenges predispose them to have the uncoordinated thoughts, which have a general adverse emotional impact on them. These sets of emotions often lead to a likelihood of engaging in further crimes. According to Gillespie, et al. (2012), psychological distress contribute to other emotional disorders including depression and stress that if not we managed leads to recidivism in offenders. Traits associated with psychopathy interfere with the effectiveness of interpersonal functioning. People who have high trait psychopathy lack emotional intelligence, which reduces their ability to moderate their moods and stress levels. In essence, reduced emotional intelligence exposes people to other psychotic disorders such as low sensitivity to other people’s emotions and lack of empathy. This trend may lead to constant engagement in crime resulting in recidivism among offenders.
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