Survey research and design in psychology/Tutorials/Multiple linear regression/Exercises/Deterrence theory

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Deterrence theory and compliance with the law

Allen & Bennett Ch 13[1]
Data file: data_13_2.sav

View the accompanying screencast: [1]

Deterrence theory suggests that compliance with the law is shaped by perceived certainty of punishment and perceived severity of punishment. When the perceived certainty (i.e., likelihood) and severity (i.e., personal costs) of punishment for breaking the law are high, law-breaking behaviour is predicted to be low. Conversely, when perceived punishment certainty and severity decrease, non-compliance with the law should increase.

View the accompanying screencasts: [2] [3]
Deterrence theory with two predictors

To test deterrence theory, 62 participants were asked to complete a three-part questionnaire:

  1. Frequency of participants' everyday law breaking behaviours (e.g., littering, speeding, driving while intoxicated, shop-lifting etc.)
  2. Perceived certainty (likelihood) of being punished
  3. Personal severity (costs) of punishment.

Thus, the multiple linear regression model is:

  • DV = (likelihood of) compliance (with the law).
  • IV1 = (perceived) certainty (of being caught).
  • IV2 = (perceived) severity (of punishment).

Results: R = .20, R2 = .04, F (2, 59) = 1.23, p = .30

Regression equation: Compliance = 2.969 + .154xCertainty + .015xSeverity

Deterrence theory with three predictors
View the accompanying screencasts: [4] [5]

For the second analysis, use IV1 and IV2 in Step 1 of a hierarchical MLR, with Step 2 consisting of:

  • IV3 = (perceived) legitimacy (of the law / law-abidingness) (used in the hierarchical analysis).
  1. Allen, P. & Bennett, K. (2008). SPSS for the health and behavioural sciences. South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Thomson. | Companion site