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Empirical Assessment of the Generality of the General Theory of Crime: The Effects of Low Self-Control on Social Development

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 23 Issue: 2 Dated: 2000 Pages: 109-134
Chris L. Gibson; John Paul Wright; Stephen G. Tibbetts
J. M. Miller
Date Published
26 pages
This study built on previous research on low self-control by assessing the link between low self-control and outcomes Gottfredson and Hirschi claimed to be social consequences of low self-control.
Data were obtained from the Tri-Cities Adolescent Employment Survey, a cross-sectional survey administered in eight high schools in northeast Tennessee. The study sample consisted of 436 seniors, 204 boys and 232 girls. Study measures included school commitment, grades, hours in activities, time studying, family cohesiveness, parental supervision, parental conflict, parental communication, goals and aspirations, delinquent peers, delinquency, low self-control, and demographics. Results showed that, while controlling for various demographic and structural characteristics, low self-control was related to multiple dimensions of low school commitment, diminished quality of family cohesiveness, and limited goals and aspirations. Individuals with low self-control were more likely to have delinquent associates and experience more delinquent peer pressure. Low self-control remained a strong predictor of delinquency even after the effects of various known sociological correlates of crime were accounted for. Items measuring delinquency and low self-control and descriptive study statistics are appended. 28 references and 7 tables