Having inherited inherent in the biological direction
the recognition of an innate tendency to criminal behavior, psychological
theories attach greater importance to the conditions of the upbringing of the
individual, while recognizing at the same time a decisive role behind the
peculiarities of her mental state.
Psychodynamic theories try to explain the conscious
and unconscious factors that help develop our personality and behavior (Ziegler, 2014).
Sigmund Freud believed that personality development was
a result of unconscious factors that are out of our control (Ziegler, 2014). Freud proposed a
psychodynamic theory of personality called the “Mental Iceberg”, which is a
metaphor for the composition of the mind. It is composed of three components:
id, ego, and superego (Ziegler, 2014).
Id: resides in the deepest part of the unconscious
mind, governed by pleasure (Ziegler, 2014).
Superego: counteracts the id, by maintaining the rules
of society, parents, and teachers (Ziegler,
2014). The superego is composed of two parts: the conscience and ego ideal.
· Conscience: distinguish between right and
· ego ideal: recognize accomplishments
Ego: resides in the conscious mind, it is the mediator,
balances the urges of the id and the needs of the superego (Ziegler, 2014)
Freud’s psychodynamic theory of personality structure
is metaphorically compared to that of a mental iceberg. A small portion of the
personality representing conscious awareness is above the surface; the
subconscious and the unconscious remain concealed beyond awareness (Ziegler, 2014).
If these components are correctly balanced, a person
leads a normal life. If one of the components of the personality becomes
dominant at the expense of others, a person exhibits neurotic or even psychotic
properties of character (Figure 1).
Figure 1 — Freud’s psychodynamic theory
Psychoanalytic theory suggests that an imbalance in
the personality, caused by trauma in early childhood, can give a damaged
personality in adulthood, that is, a person with long-term mental problems.
For example, if the parents neglecting the upbringing
of the child do not develop the child’s Superego appropriately, “Id”
can become the dominant force of the person. Later, a teenager may demand
immediate satisfaction of his desires, he may lack compassion for others,
receptivity to their problems, and he may suffer from an inability to control
feelings, may act impulsively and aggressively, or exhibit other psychotic
As a result, criminal behavior can become an outlet
for aggressive and antisocial feelings. Thus, for the explanation of antisocial
behavior Freudian thought concentrates on traumas on the early stages of
development and the resulting misbalance in the personality.
In accordance with the psychoanalytic concept, people
who experience feelings of psychological pain and are afraid of losing
self-control are called neurotic, since they suffer from neurosis. There are people
who completely lost control. Their behavior can be noted by strange episodes,
hallucinations, and inadequate reactions.
Psychosis takes many different forms, and the most
frequent is schizophrenia, a condition marked by logical thought processes and
a lack of understanding of one’s own behavior. According to the psychoanalytic
view, the most serious types of adolescent antisocial behavior, such as murder,
can be motivated by psychosis, while the neurotic state will be responsible for
less serious offenses, such as petty thefts and absenteeism.
Levinson’s theory emphasizes that an individual’s view
of life at a particular time is highly influenced by social and physical
environment, as well as religion, race, and status (Daniel Levinson).
Some modern psychoanalysts have used Freud’s model to
explain the beginning of antisocial behavior. Erik Erikson believed that many
teenagers experience a life crisis, during which they feel emotionally high,
they are too impulsive and are not sure of their role and purpose. To solve
this crisis, most adolescents tend to gain a firm understanding of who they are
and what they are for (Erik H. Erikson).
However, some of them cannot adequately handle the
state of the role conflict and experience role-based diffusion (a feeling of
insecurity that makes them receptive to negative sentences), leaving them to
the mercy of those who can knock them out of the way.
The role of diffusion is prompted by the crisis of
identity-the period of internal disorder, during which adolescents evaluate
their internal values and make decisions about roles in life. Using the
Erickson approach, we can consider the behavior of adolescent drug addicts as
an expression of their lack of understanding of their place in society, their
inability to behave towards useful “exits”, and, possibly, their dependence on
solutions offered by others.
The psychoanalytic approach pays serious attention to
the role of the family in the upbringing of a juvenile offender.
When parents cannot maintain a stable, balanced family
life, a child can come to destructive behavior. Not all psychologists agree
that people’s behavior is controlled by unconscious mental processes determined
by the attitude of parents in early childhood. Behavioral psychologists object,
in their opinion, the personality is cognized in the course of life by its
interaction with others.