Discussion: Latent Theory in Criminology


Latent trait theory argues that people have underlying conditions at birth and after controlling behavior, which leads to suspect characteristics like impulsivity, low IQ, and personality structure. Specifically, it argues that some individuals have unique features that enhance their need to commit a crime. However, parents can control their children’s need to engage in criminal behavior by seeking professional help, engaging in learning activities to enhance their children’s IQ, and promoting physical security.

Parent’s Role in Preventing Latent Crime

Parents and caregivers can intervene against criminal behavior that emerges from the early development of criminal minds by seeking professional counseling and guidance. Professional help can ease the situations, eliminate the symptoms, and promote normalcy for children showing impulsivity and different criminal traits. Walters argues that cognitive behavioral therapy significantly reduces the child’s probability of engaging in criminal behaviors (649). It enhances the juvenile’s critical reasoning, social skills, self-control, and impulse management. Hence, one of the leading intervention strategies parents can use is taking their children through cognitive behavioral therapy sessions.

Moreover, due to the direct link between the child’s IQ and the probability of committing a criminal offense, parents can intervene by adopting measures to enhance the child’s intelligence levels. According to Amalia and Salis, parents and teachers can improve a child’s cognitive development rate in the early stages of development by engaging in numerous learning activities that meet the student’s needs (104). Some of these activities include executing control activities, memory activities, visuospatial activities, reading activities, and relational skills. Altogether, parents can prevent the likelihood of their children engaging in criminal behaviors by adopting activities that enhance their IQ levels.

Besides, parents and immediate family can shape the child’s personality by offering a basic sense of physical security, values, and skills. Specifically, parents create a stable home routine to enhance their emotional security and teach their children the difference between right and wrong compassion, respect, responsibility, and fairness (Mwangangi 55). From birth, the parents should create a favorable environment that encourages the development of language, emotional, cognitive, and interactional skills, ultimately shaping the child’s personality.


The latent theory argues that criminal behavior occurs due to underlying conditions available at birth, which the parents can control through numerous strategies. Specifically, since juvenile criminal minds are linked to low IQ, impulsivity, and personality structure, parents should take all the available measures to regulate and improve these factors. They can do so by engaging in activities that boost the child’s IQ, seeking professional help from counselors, and creating a favorable environment for cognitive, emotional, and physical development. These measures will reduce the children’s exposure and willingness to engage in deviant behaviors.

Works Cited

Amalia, Eka Rizki, and Salis Khoiriyati. “Effective learning activities to improve early childhood cognitive development.” Al-Athfal Jurnal Pendidikan Anak, vol.4, no.1, 2018, pp: 103-112.

Mwangangi, Rosemary Kakonzi. “The role of the family in dealing with juvenile delinquency.” Open Journal of Social Sciences, vol.7, no.3, 2019, pp: 52-63.

Walters, Glenn D. “Criminal thinking: Theory and practice.” The Wiley international handbook of correctional psychology, 2019, pp: 637-653.

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1. LawBirdie. "Discussion: Latent Theory in Criminology." November 8, 2023. https://lawbirdie.com/discussion-latent-theory-in-criminology/.


LawBirdie. "Discussion: Latent Theory in Criminology." November 8, 2023. https://lawbirdie.com/discussion-latent-theory-in-criminology/.