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Clash of the Titans: A Theoretical Competition Between Self-Control and Social Bond

NCJ Number
Critical Issues in Justice and Politics Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: November 2009 Pages: 15-34
Michael A. Cretacci
Date Published
November 2009
20 pages
This article examines two popular theories in criminology - self-control and social bond.
For many years, researchers have lauded the utility of oppositional theoretical inquiry. However, criminologists have not made concrete determinations as to the viability of many theories that lack empirical support. As a result, several perspectives continue to attract attention even though they lack explanatory power. With this in mind, this study subjects self-control and social bond theories to a competition in an attempt to determine which is the better explanation of three forms of crime in a national sample. Logistic regression results indicate that self-control is a more robust explanation of drug and property crime than it is of violence. On the other hand, social bond also partially explains drug and violent crime while only weakly contributing to property offending. These findings indicate that these two unique perspectives contribute in different ways to our understanding of criminality. Based on the results obtained here, self-control "wins" the competition but only by the narrowest of margins. (Published Abstract)