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Family--Low Self-Control--Deviance: A Cross-Cultural and Cross-National Test of Self-Control Theory

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior: An International Journal Volume: 34 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2007 Pages: 505-530
Alexander T. Vazsonyi; Lara M. Belliston
Date Published
April 2007
26 pages
This article reports the results of a cross-cultural and cross-national test of self-control theory, which focused on the theoretically relevant variables of family processes, low self-control, and youthful deviance.
Results from youth representing seven different cultural and national groups from Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States indicated consistent support for significantly similar patterns of relationships among family processes, low self-control, and deviance measures. The findings further revealed that family processes had both direct and indirect impacts on youth deviance through low self-control. Taken together, family processes and low self-control explained between 25 percent and 36 percent of the variation in deviance across the youth samples when age, sex, family structure, and socioeconomic status were controlled. These findings are noteworthy because they establish evidence of a cross-culturally and cross-nationally invariant pattern of association among key measures of family processes, low self-control, and deviance. Data were drawn from the International Study of Adolescent Development and Problem Behaviors, which collected anonymous self-report data from 8,997 middle and late adolescents residing in medium-sized cities in Hungary (N=826), Japan (N=344), the Netherlands (N=1,244), Switzerland (N=3,819), and the United States (N=2,764). Participants were selected via convenience sampling at their schools and completed a self-report questionnaire assessing demographic information, family structure, socioeconomic characteristics, family processes, self-control, and engagement in deviance. Data were analyzed using partial correlations and a series of structural equation models. Future research should focus on replicating this study using samples of younger adolescents and perhaps children. Tables, figure, appendixes, references