Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Perceptions of procedural justice and police legitimacy: A life history perspective

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posted on 2021-11-22, 09:02 authored by Dorgan, Jody

Prior research on attitudes towards the police has largely focused on the relationship between demographic factors and perceptions of the police. These studies have produced inconclusive results, and there is no general consensus why and how demographic factors account for individual differences in attitudes towards the police. Life history theory, a “middle-level” evolutionary theory, is one that has largely been neglected in mainstream criminology, but has been used in the current research to explain individual differences in attitudes towards the police. Two studies, both using an online survey, were conducted to explore the extent to which life history strategy explained individual attitudes towards procedural justice, police legitimacy and police socialization after controlling for demographic factors, previous police interaction and prior arrest. Study one, a university sample of 305 participants and study two, a general population sample of 75 Wellington residents both found support for the application of life history theory being used to explain individual differences in attitudes towards the police. Overall, the current research showed that those with a slower life history strategy were more likely hold more positive perceptions of police legitimacy, procedural justice and police socialization regardless of demographic factors, previous police interaction, and prior arrest.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Institute of Criminology

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Durrant, Russil