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Thesis

A dynamic and relational perspective on vulnerability and fear of crime : The role of physical, psychological, and social factors as well as life events and neighborhood contexts using a between-within person approach

MPS-Authors

Köber,  Göran
Criminology, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Köber, G. (2018). A dynamic and relational perspective on vulnerability and fear of crime: The role of physical, psychological, and social factors as well as life events and neighborhood contexts using a between-within person approach. PhD Thesis, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg i. Br.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-3F03-2
Abstract
This thesis investigates the usefulness of the concept of vulnerability in explaining the fear of crime. Previous vulnerability approaches in fear-of-crime research are reworked and expanded, integrating a stronger temporal perspective and differentiating more precisely between persons and their contexts. It is demonstrated that between-person differences and within-person changes of most vulnerability factors (e.g., personality traits, financial strain, and supportive networks) are related to fear of crime. This longitudinal perspective provides more reliable support for the vulnerability approach than previous cross-sectional studies because unobserved heterogeneity is reduced. Victimization leads to increased perceived environmental adversity although not having the hypothesized influence on the locus of control. The impact of (early) life events on fear of crime and whether the examined theoretical mechanisms mediate vulnerability factors is investigated in cross-sectional analyses, suggesting that early life events influence fear of crime. The theoretically derived vulnerability mechanisms mediate all investigated vulnerability factors. An examination of neighborhood characteristics and their spatial lags shows that social disadvantage in the (adjacent) neighborhood has a strong contextual influence on fear of crime. Vulnerability links people and environments, indicating an interactive relationship between individual vulnerability factors and external stressors (neighborhood characteristics and victimization). The most substantial interaction is that older people are less affected by neighborhood characteristics than younger people.