A critical examination of research on the psychological profiles of white-collar criminals

Laurie Ragatz, William Fremouw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Scopus citations


This article critically reviewed 16 studies on the demographic and psychological characteristics of white-collar criminals. Some of the more-supported findings imply white-collar offenders are older, Caucasian, employed, and have a high school diploma or higher education. They also tended to be low in conscientiousness, agreeableness, and self-control. The most prominent limitations of the reviewed studies were the lack of a uniform definition of white-collar crime, not controlling for extraneous variables, and failing to control for type I error. Future research needs to explore how female white-collar offenders may be unique from male white-collar offenders. Several psychological variables (e.g., criminal thinking, psychopathy, motivations) could be investigated to further treatment practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-402
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychology Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2010



  • Criminal thinking
  • Demographic variables
  • Personality
  • White-collar criminals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Applied Psychology

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