Self-defining memories (SDMs) are a type of autobiographical memory that people use as a narrative way to explain their self-identity. We sought to examine the relationships between SDMs, aggression, and criminality in a sample of men, 18–64 years of age, recruited in Spain. The sample included three groups: incarcerated criminal offenders with mental illness, incarcerated criminal offenders without mental illness, and healthy community controls. Analyses of the relationship between SDMs and criminal status demonstrated that incarcerated offenders, regardless of mental health status, endorsed phenomenological characteristics of SDMs of their transgressive self at a higher level than community controls. Aggression differed across all three groups, such that inmates demonstrated higher levels of trait aggression than community controls. The associations between aggression and age at event of SDMs did not differ between groups. Further investigation of the relationship between SDMs, aggression, and criminal status may augment understanding of factors of criminality.
- Self-defining memories (SDMs)
- autobiographical memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)