Sociology Index


Involvement is the degree to which an individual is active in conventional activities. In Travis Hirschi's work, involvement involves aspects of the ‘social bond’. A variety of studies support the assertion of a causal relationship between self-control and criminality (McGee and Newcomb 1992) Pulkkinen and Pitkanen 1993). Many cross-sectional research indicates that low self-control predicts involvement in some crimes of force and fraud, especially among men (e.g., Grasmick et al. 1993).

Involvement in Sports and Engagement in Delinquency: An Examination of Hirschi’s Social Bond Theory - A thesis presented to the faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology East Tennessee State University In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology - by Randy Hass.

Sports have been proposed as a means of reducing participation in delinquency. One criminological theory that would support this hypothesis is Travis Hirschi’s social bond theory.

The involvement element of that theory proposes that engaging juveniles in non-delinquent activities reduces engagement in delinquency. However, the relationship between sports and delinquency has not been adequately tested. Data from the first wave of the National Youth Survey were examined by ordinary least squares regression to determine if there was evidence supporting school sponsored sports programs as a means of reducing delinquency..

No evidence was found to support the research hypothesis. Involvement in sports actually was associated with an increase in some types of delinquency, though the slope of the regression line was very slight. This study was a piece of evidence bringing into question the legitimacy of the involvement element in social bond theory.