Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

W. Timothy Austin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rosemary L. Gido, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kathleen J. Hanrahan, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Jamie Martin, Ph.D.


This dissertation employs a qualitative research design by exploring the narratives of female drug offenders involved in a drug-crime lifestyle. In-depth interviews were conducted to examine the subjective experiences of 26 women and their overall perception of the drug-crime lifestyle. The sample was drawn from a population of recovering addicts who frequented a rehabilitative agency in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The findings provide a subjective view of female drug addicts and through an assessment of the Walters’ Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS), the narratives of the respondents were analyzed to evaluate specifically the applicability of Walters’ eight thinking styles of cognition. Based on the emerging themes of the data, the study highlighted the complexities of Walters’ theoretical thinking styles of drug users and offenders’ thinking styles. This study found that the narratives of the women addicts did, in fact, corroborate Walters’ theoretical perspective on drug use and crime. The study recommends that more research is needed on the lines of female drug users and their intimate relationships, as well as methadone maintenance programs, victimization, child maltreatment, and the issue of drug recovery and desistance from crime.