Substance Abuse as a Risk Factor for Criminal Behavior: A Systematic Review




delinquency, substance use, risk factors, systematic review


Delinquency is a social problem that deserves study to be prevented. Throughout history, the association between substance abuse and crime has been studied, although this relationship is unclear. The main aim of this paper is to present the latest findings concerning the consideration of substance use as a risk factor for crime. This paper is a systematic review of empirical studies regarding the study of substance as a possible risk factor for the devel­opment of criminal conduct, published between 2010 and 2015, in Spanish, English and Portuguese. A systematic search at Scopus, PsycINFO, Medline and Psicodoc was carried out, including a total of thirty-two studies re­viewed with a checklist of the quality of epidemiological papers. The majority of papers focused on alcohol, can­nabis or poly-drug use, and almost 80% agree that con­sumption is a risk factor for the development of criminal behavior and some types of crimes. This review con­cludes that the knowledge that consumption represents a risk factor could be used as a means of prevention. The possibility of information bias limitation is highlighted.


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How to Cite

Pérez, E., & Ruiz, S. (2017). Substance Abuse as a Risk Factor for Criminal Behavior: A Systematic Review. Acción Psicológica, 14(2), 33–50.



Artículos del monográfico [Monograph´s articles]