Sociology Index

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Social bond is the degree to which an individual is integrated into the society, or ‘the social’. Social bond is the binding ties or social bonding to the family. Social bond also includes social bonding to the school, to the workplace and to the community. Social Bond theory was written by Travis Warner Hirschi in 1969. Social Bond theory later developed into Social Control Theory.

While David Emile Durkheim first focused on the importance of the social bond it has gained wide acceptance in the theory and research of Travis Hirschi. Hirschi argues that as the socal bond is weakened as the degree of deviant behavior goes up.

Travis Hirschi's Social Bond Theory

Travis Hirschi presented four social bonds which promote socialization and conformity: attachment, commitment, involvement and belief. According to Travis Hirschi, the stronger these four bonds, the least likely one would become delinquent. Hirschi first assumes that everyone has potential to become delinquent and criminal and it is social control, not moral values, that maintain law and order. Without controls, he argues, one is free to commit criminal acts.

Emotions, the Social Bond, and Human Reality: Part/Whole Analysis - Thomas J. Scheff.
Innovative approach to researching human behavior which relates the smallest parts of social interaction to the greatest wholes of social structure. Scheff combines the insights of the humanities and social sciences to better understand what he calls 'human reality'. He puts a fresh emphasis on the importance of emotions in the social bond.

Shame and the Social Bond: A Sociological Theory - Thomas J. Scheff.

Emotion has long been recognized in sociology as crucially important, but most references to it are generalized and vague. In this essay, I nominate shame, specifically, as the premier social emotion. First I review the individualized treatment of shame in psychoanalysis and psychology, and the absence of social context.

I consider the contributions to the social dimensions of shame by Georg Simmel, Charles Horton Cooley, Norbert Elias, Richard Sennett, Helen Lynd, Erving Goffman, and a psychologist and psychoanalyst, Helen Lewis. I show that Cooley and Lynd, particularly, made contributions to a theory of shame and the social bond. Lewis's idea that shame arises from threats to the social bond integrates the contributions of all six sociologists, and points toward future research on emotion, conflict, and alienation/integration.

Family, Friends and Followers: Political and Social Bonds in Early Medieval Europe - Gerd Althoff, Christopher Carroll
This work documents and describes just how extensively crucial personal and social bonds influenced political life in Europe in the Early and High Middle Ages. Political life in the Middle Ages was significantly influenced by the social bonds people had to one another, and the bonds of kinship, friendship and lordship were by far the most important. Gerd Althoff demonstrates how the nature and importance of these social bonds changed, as did the rules and norms which governed them.

School Delinquency and the School Social Bond - PATRICIA H. JENKINS 
This article examines the independent effects of the four components of the school social bond, like school commitment, attachment to school, school involvement, and belief in school rules, on school crime, school misconduct, and school nonattendance. An examination of the independent effects of the four components of the school social bond suggests that certain components are more important than others in controlling different types of school delinquency. Results suggest that the school social bond is an important intervening mechanism that helps to explain the effects of certain predictor variables on school crime, school misconduct, and nonattendance in middle schools.

Social Bond Theory and Alcohol Use Among College Students. - Cherry, Andrew L., Jr. 
Abstract: Investigated incidence of alcohol use by college students, relationship among social bond variables, and ability of social bond variables to predict alcohol use. Psychosocial scales measuring elements of social bond to the college community were used successfully to classify abstainers, light-to-moderate drinkers, and heavy drinkers in 74% of the cases. -

An empirical examination of the social bond theory of drug use. - Dull RT.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between control theory, measured through a created social bond scale, and the respondents' self-admitted drug use. An analysis was conducted of self-reported drug use data from a general Texas adult population. This bivariate analysis included a series of bivariate cross-comparison correlations between the independent variable which is social bond and the dependent variable which is drug. The relationship between the independent and dependent variables was further examined by calculating the correlation and level of significance within selected categories of several demographic (age, race, sex, education, income, and marital status) variables. The results showed a significant positive correlation between reduced social bonding and greater drug use. It was concluded that Hirschi's social bond theory fails to provide an adequate explanation for the use of drugs within the framework of this analysis. 

College Student Journal, September 1, 1999, DURKIN, KEITH F.; WOLFE, TIMOTHY W.; CLARK, GREGORY.
This paper presents the results of a research project that examined the influence of social bond variables on binge drinking in a sample of college students. A questionnaire containing items which reflected a number of social bond variables and a measure of frequency of binge drinking was administered to a sample (n=247) of college students. The results indicated that nearly all of the social bond measures were inversely related to the frequency of binge drinking. A multivariate model that used these social bond measures explained approximately one-quarter of the variance.

Social bond theory and drunk driving in a sample of college students. (Report): An article from: College Student Journal by Keith F. Durkin, Scott E. Wolfe, Ross W. May. This paper reports the finding from a study that examined the relationship between social bond variables and drunk driving in a sample of university students. A questionnaire containing indicators representing social bond variables, as well as a measure of drunk driving was administered to a sample of 1459 college students. The results of this study provide mixed support for social bond theory. On the one hand, commitment to conventional activities and acceptance of conventional beliefs were negatively related to drunk driving. On the other hand, neither the involvement component nor the attachment component were related to drinking and driving in the manner predicted by social bond theory.