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Criminal Identity and Social Networks
Last registered on August 02, 2019


Trial Information
General Information
Criminal Identity and Social Networks
Initial registration date
July 31, 2019
Last updated
August 02, 2019 3:35 PM EDT

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Primary Investigator
Central Washington University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This research aims to investigate the relationship between identity of current and former inmates (how inmates see themselves) and their social networks (people in inmates’ lives). Such a relationship has implications for their criminal behavior. This project is vital to the understanding, intervention, and prevention of criminal behavior. Academically, the research will link sociological social psychology, social network analysis, and criminology. This project will reveal mechanisms of the interaction between inmates’ identities and social networks and predict identity salience (likelihood of certain identity activation) with network characteristics.
Primary data are interviews and surveys and analyzed qualitatively. The primary findings are: first, family serves as supporter or enabler of criminal behavior. Sometimes peer groups and perpetrators of the focal person are surrogates of family in the absence of the family. Second, inmates identify themselves as a “disappointing” member to their family and other inmates as “bad” people which suggests that they have internalized the dichotomy used by the larger society when judging inmates and others by turning to two generalized others: their family and the larger society.
I plan to collect 1,000 more responses with former inmates (500) and current inmates (500) and 30 more interviews (20 with former inmates and 10 with current inmates). I have obtained IRB approval to interview and survey former inmates. I have received a research solicitation letter and I am applying for access. I anticipate the survey data targeting the current and former inmate populations will continue to be relevant to this topic.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Zhang, Baiqing. 2019. "Criminal Identity and Social Networks." AEA RCT Registry. August 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4489-1.0.
Former Citation
Zhang, Baiqing. 2019. "Criminal Identity and Social Networks." AEA RCT Registry. August 02. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4489/history/51109.
Experimental Details
Initiatives to treat issues among inmates such as substance use and mental issues.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Criminal identity salience reduction which indicates the possibility of recidivism.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Identity salience is measured with a series of question such as how often a person talks about a specific question.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Criminal identity prominence which indicates how important emotionally criminal identity is.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Identity prominence is measured with a series of questions such as how important a specific question is to a person. Identity prominence is often causally related with identity salience.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The treatment group will receive crime reduction treatments. The control group will consist of people who receive alternative treatments.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Will randomly assign participants through a computer program or public lottery without replacement.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
500 individuals from a facility.
Sample size: planned number of observations
500 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
250 program treatment, 250 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number