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Digital Piracy: Assessing the Contributions of an Integrated Self-Control Theory and Social Learning Theory Using Structural Equation Modeling

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Studies Volume: 19 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2006 Pages: 3-22
George E. Higgins; Brian D. Fell; Abby L. Wilson
Date Published
March 2006
20 pages
This study explored whether an integrated self-control theory and social learning theory can explain digital piracy, an emerging white-collar crime.
Results indicated that low self-control and social learning theory could integrate in different ways to explain digital piracy. Specifically, the study developed a three-factor model that indicated that low self-control, combined with social learning, could lead to digital piracy. This supports Hirschi and Gottfredson’s (1993) assertion that self-control is impacted by constraints. The constraint in this case is the need for individuals to learn how to perform digital piracy. The authors suggest that universities seeking to reduce digital piracy should consider developing policies and programs based on social learning theory. Participants were 392 college students who completed a self-report questionnaire measuring aspects of social control, association with digital pirating peers, attitudes toward software piracy, and intentions to commit digital piracy. The analysis involved the use of structural equation modeling to test how four models of low self-control and social learning combined to produce the commission of digital piracy. Future research should use different measures of digital piracy and should consider the theoretical links that low self-control has with other theories in terms of their contribution to explaining digital piracy. Future research should also consider using a longitudinal design. Figures, notes, references, appendixes