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Self-Control in Global Perspective: An Empirical Assessment of Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory Within and Across 32 National Settings

NCJ Number
European Journal of Criminology Volume: 5 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2008 Pages: 331-362
Cesar J. Rebellon; Murray A. Straus; Rose Medeiros
Date Published
July 2008
32 pages
This research note was an empirical assessment of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s General Theory.
An examination across Western and non-Western settings provide results which suggest that the 6-item self-control scale demonstrates reliability comparable to that of prior self-control scales in the existing criminological literature, the scale is associated significantly with both violence and property crime, and an eight-item parental neglect scale is associated with self-control in both Western and non-Western settings. At the same time, HLM (Hierarchical Linear and Nonlinear Modeling) analysis suggests that there exists a macro-level contextual effect, unanticipated by Gottfredson and Hirschi, of aggregate parental neglect on individual-level self-control. It is noted that research concerning Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) General Theory of Crime has paid inadequate attention to the reliability and validity of self-control measures in non-Western settings, to the relationship between parenting and self-control in non-Western settings, and to Gottfredson and Hirschi's assertion that macro-level cultural forces have little or no influence on criminal behavior. Results further suggest a robust individual-level association, also unanticipated by Gottfredson and Hirschi, between personal and peer crime that tends to remain independent of adjustments for self-control. The present study addressed each of these issues using a 6-item self-control scale and 2 separate crime measures among young adult respondents from 32 Western and non-Western settings on all 6 humanly habitable continents. Tables, references