Self-Control Theory: Research Issues

  • Alex R. Piquero
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

In the annals of criminological thought, there have been a handful of theories that have been proffered that have altered and shaped the theoretical imagination of criminologists. The most recent of these theories is Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) general theory of crime. Their theory places particular importance on the personal, individual characteristic of (low) self-control, or the tendency to pursue immediate gratification at the expense of consideration for long-term consequences. To Gottfredson and Hirschi, the higher order construct of self-control is comprised of six characteristics, all of which coalesce within the individual with (low) self-control: impulsivity, preference for simple tasks, risk seeking, preference for physical as opposed to mental activities, self-centeredness, and a quick or volatile temper. When (low) self-control combines with the ready stock of available opportunities for crime, the general theory of crime anticipates that the probability of all types of antisocial and criminal activity will increase in a generally linear fashion, and this interaction should be a principal ingredient of crime over and above most other traditional correlates of crime, which the theorists claim are simply manifestations or selection effects associated with self-control.


Deviant Behavior Crime Type Corporate Crime Situational Crime Prevention Social Control Theory 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex R. Piquero
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Maryland College ParkCollege ParkUSA

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