Measuring Low Self-Control and Reactive Criminal Thinking in the NLSY–Child Sample: One Construct or Two?
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a behavioral rating measure of low self-control and an attitudinal measure of low self-control can be viewed as measuring the same construct. It was hypothesized that the externalizing scale of the Behavior Problems Index (BPI-Ext), which served as a behavioral rating measure of low self-control in the current study, would display greater similarity to a 6-item self-report of antisocial, but not necessarily delinquent, behavior (SR-AB) measure than it would a 6-item attitudinal self-report measure of low self-control, labeled the reactive criminal thinking (SR-RCT) scale. This study was conducted on a sample of 6280 children (3144 boys, 3136 girls) from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-Child (NLSY-C). A pair of confirmatory factor analyses revealed that the BPI-Ext and SR-RCT scales appeared to form two distinct constructs. In addition, the BPI-Ext correlated significantly better with the SR-AB than with the SR-RCT and the BPI-Ext and SR-AB achieved moderate negative correlations with measures of attention, concentration, achievement, and general aptitude, whereas the SR-RCT achieved small positive correlations. These results indicate that behavioral and attitudinal measures of low self-control are measuring different constructs, the former impulsive behavior and the latter reactive criminal thinking.
KeywordsLow self-control Reactive criminal thinking Cognitive performance
- Agnew, R. (2011). Toward a unified criminology: Integrating assumptions about crime, people, and society. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
- Allison, P. D. (2012). Handling missing data by maximum likelihood. In SAS global forum 2012, (Paper 312–2012). Cary: SAS Institute.Google Scholar
- Center for Human Resource Research (2009). NLSY79 user’s guide, CHRR NLS User Services. Columbus: The Ohio State University.Google Scholar
- Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. (1981). PPVT: Peabody picture vocabulary test, revised. Circle Pines: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
- Dunn, L. M., & Markwardt, E. C. (1970). Manual for peabody individual achievement test. Circle Pines: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
- Ericson, R., & Carriere, K. (1994). The fragmentation of criminology. In D. Nelken (Ed.), The futures of criminology (pp. 89–109). London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Hindelang, M., Hirshi, T., & Weis, J. (1981). Measuring delinquency. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
- Keogh, B. K. (2003). Temperament in the classroom: Understanding individual differences. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.Google Scholar
- Muthén, B., & Muthén, L. (1998–2007). Mplus user’s guide (5th ed.). Los Angeles: Muthén and Muthén.Google Scholar
- Peyre, H., Leplége, A., & Coste, J. (2011). Missing data methods for dealing with missing items in quality of life questionnaires: A comparison by simulation of personal mean score, full information maximum likelihood, multiple imputation, and hot deck techniques applied to the SF-36 in the French 2003 decennial health survey. Quality of Life Research, 20, 287–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rennie, R., Beebe-Frankenberger, M., & Swanson, H. L. (2014). A longitudinal study of neuropsychological functioning and academic achievement in children with and without signs of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 36, 621–635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Satorra, A. (2000). Scaled and adjusted restricted tests in multi-sample analysis of moment structures. In R. D. H. Heijmans, D. S. G. Pollock, & A. Satorra (Eds.), Innovations in multivariate statistical analysis. A Festschrift for Heinz Neudecker (pp. 233–247). London: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Walters, G. D. (2016c). Reactive criminal thinking as a consequence of low self-control and prior offending. Deviant Behavior. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/01639625.2016.1196951.
- Walters, G. D. (2016d). Risk, need, and responsivity in a criminal lifestyle. In F. S. Taxman (Ed.), Handbook on risk and need assessment (pp. 193–219). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
- Wechsler, D. (1974). Manual for the Wechsler intelligence scale for children—revised. New York: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar