Advertisement

Self-Control Theory: Research Issues

  • Alex R. Piquero
Chapter
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.

Keywords

Deviant Behavior Crime Type Corporate Crime Situational Crime Prevention Social Control Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Akers, R. L. (1991). Self-control as a general theory of crime. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 7, 201–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arneklev, B. J., Grasmick, H. G., Tittle, C. R., & Bursik, R. J., Jr. (1993). Low self-control and imprudent behavior. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 9, 225–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barlow, H. D. (1991). Review: Review essay: Explaining crimes and analogous acts, or the unrestrained will grab at pleasure whenever they can. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 82, 229–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blumstein, A., Cohen, J., Roth, J. A., & Visher, C. A. (Eds.). (1986). Criminal careers and career criminals. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  5. Burton, V., Evans, T. D., Cullen, F. T., Olivares, K. M., & Dunaway, R. G. (1999). Age, self-control, and adults’ offending behaviors: A research note assessing a general theory of crime. Journal of Criminal Justice, 27, 45–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burton, V. S., Jr., Cullen, F. T., Evans, T. D., Alarid, L. F., & Dunaway, R. G. (1998). Gender, self-control, and crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 35, 123–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cauffman, E., Steinberg, L., & Piquero, A. R. (2005). Psychological, neuropsychological, and physiological correlates of serious antisocial behavior. Criminology, 43, 133–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, L. E., & Felson, M. (1979). Social change and crime rate trends: A routine activity approach. American Sociological Review, 44, 588–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cornish, D., & Clarke, R. V. (1987). Understanding crime displacement: An application of rational choice theory. Criminology, 25, 933–947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Evans, T. D., Cullen, F. T., Burton, V. S., Jr., Dunaway, R. G., & Benson, M. L. (1997). The social consequences of self-control: Testing the general theory of crime. Criminology, 35, 475–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Geis, G. (2000). On the absence of self-control as the basis for a general theory of crime. Theoretical Criminology, 4, 35–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gottfredson, D. C. (2001). Schools and delinquency. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1995). National crime policy. Society, 32, 30–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (2003). Self-control and opportunity. In C. L. Britt & M. R. Gottfredson (Eds.), Advances in criminological theory: Volume 12. Control theories of crime and delinquency (pp. 5–20). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Grasmick, H. G., Tittle, C. R., Bursik, R. J., Jr., & Arneklev, B. K. (1993). Testing the core empirical implications of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 30, 5–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hay, C., & Forrest, W. (2006). The development of self-control: Examining self-control theory’s stability thesis. Criminology, 44, 739–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hirschi, T. (2004). Self-control and crime. In R. F. Baumeister & K. D. Vohs (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications (pp. 537–552). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hirschi, T., & Gottfredson, M. R. (1993). Commentary: Testing the general theory of crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 30, 47–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hirschi, T., & Gottfredson, M. R. (1995). Control theory and the life-course perspective. Studies on Crime and Crime Prevention, 4, 131–142.Google Scholar
  21. Horney, J. D., Osgood, D. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1995). Criminal careers in the short-term: Intra-individual variability in crime and its relation to local life circumstances. American Sociological Review, 60, 655–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Junger, M. (1994). Accidents and crime. In T. Hirschi & M. Gottfredson (Eds.), The generality of deviance (pp. 81–112). New Brunswick, NJ: TransactionGoogle Scholar
  23. Keane, C., Maxim, P. S., & Teevan, J. J. (1993). Drinking and driving, self-control, and gender: Testing a general theory of crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 30, 30–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Longshore, D. (1998). Self-control and criminal opportunity: A prospective test of the general theory of crime. Social Problems, 45, 102–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Longshore, D., Turner, S., & Stein, J. A. (1996). Self-control in a criminal sample: An examination of construct validity. Criminology, 34, 209–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. MacDonald, J., Morral, A., & Piquero, A. R. (in press). Assessing the effects of social desirability on measures of self-control. Advances in criminological theory. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  27. Marcus, B. (2003). An empirical examination of the construct validity of two alternative self-control measures. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 63, 674–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Rodriguez, M. L. (1989). Delay of gratification in children. Science, 244, 933–938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mitchell, O., & MacKenzie, D. L. (2006). The stability and resiliency of self-control in a sample of incarcerated offenders. Crime and Delinquency, 52, 432–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Muraven, M., Pogarsky, G., & Shmueli, D. (2006). Self-control depletion and the general theory of crime. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 22, 263–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Muraven, M., Tice, D. M., & Baumeister, R. (1998). Self-control as a limited resource: Regulatory depletion patterns. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 774–789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Piquero, A. R., & Bouffard, J. (2007). Something old, something new: A preliminary investigation of Hirschi’s redefined self-control. Justice Quarterly, 24, 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Piquero, A. R., Farrington, D. P., & Blumstein, A. (2003). The criminal career paradigm. In M. Tonry (Ed.), Crime and justice: A review of research (Vol. 30, pp. 359–506). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  34. Piquero, A. R., Gomez-Smith, Z., & Langton, L. (2004). Discerning unfairness where others may not: Low self-control and unfair sanction perceptions. Criminology, 42, 699–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Piquero, A. R., MacDonald, J., Dobrin, A., Daigle, L. E., & Cullen, F. T. (2005). Self-control, violent offending, and homicide victimization: Assessing the general theory of crime. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 21, 55–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Piquero, A. R., MacIntosh, R., & Hickman, M. (2000). Does self-control affect survey response? Applying exploratory, confirmatory, and item response theory analysis to Grasmick et al.’s self-control scale. Criminology, 38, 897–929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Piquero, A. R., & Rosay, A. (1998). The reliability and validity of Grasmick et al.’s self-control scale: A comment on Longshore et al. Criminology, 36, 157–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Piquero, A. R., & Tibbetts, S. G. (1996). Specifying the direct and indirect effects of low self-control and situational factors in offenders’ decision making: Toward a more complete model of rational offending. Justice Quarterly, 13, 481–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Piquero, N. L., Langton, L., & Schoepfer, A. (2008). Completely out of control or the desire to be in complete control? An examination of low self-control and the desire-for-control. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  40. Pratt, T. C., & Cullen, F. T. (2000). The empirical status of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime: A meta-analysis. Criminology, 38, 931–964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pratt, T. C., Turner, M. G., & Piquero, A. R. (2004). Parental socialization and community context: A longitudinal analysis of the structural sources of low self-control. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 41, 219–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (1993). Crime in the making. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Schreck, C. J. (1999). Criminal victimization and low self-control: An extension and test of a general theory of crime. Justice Quarterly, 16, 633–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Simpson, S. S., & Piquero, N. L. (2002). Low self-control, organizational theory, and corporate crime. Law and Society Review, 36, 509–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Smith, T. (2004). Low self-control, staged opportunity, and subsequent fraudulent behavior. Criminal Justice & Behavior, 31, 542–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Steffensmeier, D., & Ulmer, J. T. (2005). Confessions of a dying thief: Understanding criminal careers and criminal enterprise. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Aldine.Google Scholar
  47. Taylor, C. (2001). The relationship between social and self-control: Tracing Hirschi’s criminological career. Theoretical Criminology, 5, 369–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tittle, C. R., & Botchkovar, E. V. (2005). Self-control, criminal motivation and deterrence: An investigation using Russian respondents. Criminology, 43, 307–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tittle, C. R., Ward, D. A., & Grasmick, H. G. (2003). Self-control and crime/deviance: Cognitive vs. behavioral measures. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 19, 333–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tittle, C. R., Ward, D. A., & Grasmick, H. G. (2004). Capacity for self-control and individuals’ interest in exercising self-control. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 20, 143–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tremblay, R. E. (1995). Kindergarten behavioral patterns, parental practices and early adolescent antisocial behavior. In J. McCord (Ed.), Coercion and punishment in long term perspectives (pp. 139–153). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Tremblay, R. E., Vitaro, F., Bertrand, L., LeBlanc, M., Beauchesne, H., Bioleau, H., et al. (1992). Parent and child training to prevent early onset of delinquency: The Montreal Longitudinal Experimental Study. In J. McCord and R. E. Tremblay (Eds.). Preventing antisocial behavior: Interventions from birth through adolescence. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  53. Turner, M. G., & Piquero, A. R. (2002). The stability of self-control. Journal of Criminal Justice, 30, 457–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Turner, M. G., Pratt, T. C., & Piquero, A. R. (2005). The school context as a source of self-control. Journal of Criminal Justice, 33, 329–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vazsonyi, A. T., & Belliston, L. M. (2007). The family -> low self-control -> deviance: The general theory of crime across contexts. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34, 505–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vazsonyi, A. T., & Crosswhite, J. M. (2004). A test of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime in African American adolescents. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 41, 407–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Vazsonyi, A. T., Pickering, L. E., Junger, M., & Hessing, D. (2001). An empirical test of a general theory of crime: A four-nation comparative study of self-control and the prediction of deviance. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 38, 91–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wiebe, R. P. (2003). Reconciling psychopathy and low self-control. Justice Quarterly, 20, 297–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wikström, P.-O. H. (2006). Individuals, settings, and acts of crime: Situational mechanisms and the explanation of crime. In P.-O. H. Wikström & R. J. Sampson (Eds.), The explanation of crime: Context, mechanisms, and development (pp. 61–107). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wikström, P.-O., & Treiber, K. (2007). The role of self-control in crime causation: Beyond Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime. European Journal of Criminology, 4, 237–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Winfree, L. T., Taylor, T. J., He, N., & Esbensen, F.-A. (2006). Self-control and variability over time: Multivariate results using a 5-year, multisite panel of youths. Crime & Delinquency, 52, 253–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations