Sociology Index


Power-control theory is an explanation for differences in criminality building on the idea that social control is social stratification within the family. According to power-control theory, traditionally, girls have been subjected to more social control than have boys. There is a link between structural patriarchy and parental style, postulated in the original power-control theory in East Berlin.

According to power-control theory, mothers have traditionally been responsible for exercising social control and their increasing involvement in the work place may enhance their power within the home, decrease their social control activity and affect the willingness of girls to violate norms. Single mothers, regardless of their occupational power, control and socialize their sons and daughters similarly and effect a small delinquency gender gap.

Power-control theory states that relative power in the workplace conditions patterns of parental control of children in two-parent families, resulting in gender differences in rates of nonserious delinquency.

Race, Gender, Single-Mother Households, and Delinquency - A Further Test of Power-Control Theory - Kristin Y. Mack, Michael J. Leiber, University of Northern Iowa.
Using power-control theory as the theoretical framework, the present study examines the gender gap in delinquency for White and African American youth from single-mother households. Results from both bivariate analysis and multivariate analysis indicate that there are significant gender gaps in delinquency for both White and African American youth. Further development of power-control theory may lie in rethinking the classification of single-mother households as egalitarian.

Class in the Household: A Power-Control Theory of Gender and Delinquency
Hagan, John; And Others 
Abstract: Power-control theory of delinquency based on household characteristics. That this refined theory accounts for fluctuations in delinquency rates due to social class and gender. Maintains the theory calls for a new appreciation of importance of gender and social structure of patriarchy.