Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Michael Bixter

Committee Member

Christopher King

Committee Member

Tina Zottoli


Individuals who commit criminal behaviors are often thought to prioritize short-term goals rather than long-term goals (i.e., a present vs. a future time orientation). Though previous theories of crime and empirical research support a relationship among future time orientation, criminal thinking, and illegal behaviors, there is disagreement in the literature about how to operationalize future time orientation. Moreover, prior research has usually only included a single measure of future time orientation, making generalizability of the results across different measures (reflecting different operationalizations of the construct) difficult. The primary aim of the current thesis was to measure multiple components of future time orientation (impulsivity, self-control, delay discounting, and future time perspective) in a single study, and examine their bivariate and incremental predictive relationships with both overall criminal thinking style and illegal behaviors. The bivariate results generally supported prior research: a negative relationship was found between future time orientation (i.e., low impulsivity, high self-control, high future time perspective) and criminal thinking style. The relationship between delay discounting and criminal thinking was in the hypothesized direction but failed to reach statistical significance. Multiple regression analyses indicated that the measure of self-control had the most consistent and incrementally significant relationship with both criminal thinking style and illegal behaviors. Theoretical implications of the results are discussed along with study limitations and future directions.

File Format


Included in

Psychology Commons