Differential independent recreational experience of felons and non-felons
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which 113 specific items, designed to inventory experience in twenty general areas of independent recreational activities, would differentiate felons and non-felons possessing similar characteristics. As an adjunct to the study, an additional purpose was to determine whether the differences between felons and non-felons held true for both whites and blacks. The primary aim of the study was to achieve a clearer understanding of the significance of experience in certain independent recreational activities in relation to delinquent behavior in individuals. Methods: The taped questionnaire was presented to ninety-two youthful felons incarcerated for their first time in a penitentiary. The same questionnaire was then presented to a non-felon sample of youthful males, which was approximately matched to the felon sample in respect to age, socio-economic status, race, educational achievement, and community of origin. The data collected was dichotomized by felon and non-felons. These dichotomies were further dichotomized as black and white. The responses of the study sample was placed into frequency tables to which the chi square statistic was applied to determine the significance of the differences. Those items for which the chi square test yielded a probability factor of less than .10 were presented separately because they showed the direction of difference in the recreational experience quite powerfully. Those items which tested at a level less significant were presented showing percentages of N only, to show direction. While those which tested more significant than .10 were shown in tables which reflected percentage of N, Chi square, and probability factor. Findings: Nine of twenty general areas of independent recreational experience did not differentiate between felons and non-felons at less than the .10 level of significance. These were modeling, record or tape collecting, water skiing, boating, hiking, bicycling, and trips, and skating. 2.) Eleven of the areas did contain items, which differentiated felons and non-felons at less than the.10 level. These where photography, stamp and coin collecting, reading, musical instruments, swimming, fishing and hunting, camping, horseback riding, and use of transportation. 3.) Of the 113 specific items of experience inventoried, twenty differentiated felons and non-felons at less than the .10 level. 4.) Ten of the twenty differentiating items were significant at the .05 level. 5.) Train and motorcycle riding for both races and swimming over fifty yards for the white sample were reported more frequently by felons than non-felons. 6.) In the remainder of the twenty items significant at the less than .10 level, felons reported less experience than non-felons. 7.) In the items less significant than .10, the general tendency was for felons to report less experience than non-felons, with some racial differences. 8.) Throughout most of the items investigated, the trend was for whites to report more experience than the blacks.