SOCIAL CONTROL THEORY
Social control theory attempts to
explain why it is that all of us do not commit crime. Social control theory tries to
explain why most people are law-abiding? The answer is in dimensions of social control. Social control theory is about the many ways
in which social control works in family, schools, work situations, and even in conscience.
Conventional theories, unlike social control theory, try to explain why individuals commit
A Longitudinal Test of
Social Control Theory and Delinquency - ROBERT AGNEW
Recent longitudinal research suggests that cross-sectional
studies have exaggerated the importance of Hirschi's social control theory. This
longitudinal research, however, suffers from one or more problems. Most of these problems
reduce the likelihood of finding a causal effect from social control to delinquency, and
so make the findings of the longitudinal studies suspect.
Social Control Theory and
Michael D. Wiatrowski, David B. Griswold and Mary K. Roberts - American Sociological
Review - Vol. 46, No. 5 (Oct., 1981)
Abstract: Hirschi's social control theory proposes that delinquents fail to form or
maintain a social bond to society consisting of attachment,
commitment, involvement, and belief. Using data from the Youth in Transition Study, the
present report develops and tests multivariate models of social control theory which
simultaneously consider how the four bond elements operate in relation to delinquency.
Background factors-measures of social class and ability-are
added to the model, and a revised formulation of social control is suggested.
Generalizability of Social Control Theory: An Empirical Test - MARIANNE JUNGER,
INEKE HAEN MARSHALL
Social control theory is used to model the self-reported delinquency in a sample of 788
Surinamese, Moroccan, Turkish, and Dutch boys (all living in the Netherlands). Four
hypotheses are tested: (a) social bonding variables predict variations in general
delinquent involvement; (b) social bonding variables predict variations in a variety of
types of delinquency involvement and deviance; (c) delinquent friends play the same role
in the causation of general delinquency; and (d) the dimensions of the social bond are
interrelated in the same way among all four ethnic groups. The multivariate analyses support the key propositions.
The Weak Strength of
Social Control Theory - David F. Greenberg
A reanalysis of self-reported delinquency data
from the Richmond Youth Survey indicates that social control theory has only limited
explanatory power. The analysis confirms a prediction of strain theory, although strain
theory, too, has limited explanatory power. The impact of Hirschi's Causes of Delinquency
may have been due as much to its ideological appeal as to the strength of the evidence
that it presented in support of social control theory.
Self-Control and Social
Bonds: A Combined Control Perspective on Deviance
Douglas Longshore, Eunice Chang, Shih-chao Hsieh, Nena Messina, Integrated Substance Abuse
Programs, University of California, Los Angeles
With longitudinal data from a sample of adult male drug offenders, this study tested 4
aspects of social bonding (attachment, involvement, religious commitment, and moral
belief) and association with substance-using peers as outcomes of low self-control and as
mediators of the relationship between low self-control and drug use. The relationship
between low self-control and drug use was fully mediated by moral belief and association
with substance-using peers. These results support the utility of integrating self-control
and social bonding perspectives on deviant behavior.
Exploring the Utility of Social Control Theory for Youth Development
Issues of Attachment, Involvement, and Gender
ANGELA J. HUEBNER, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
SHERRY C. BETTS, University of Arizona
The purpose of this study was to examine the utility of social control theory's
"attachment" and "involvement" bonds as protective factors to examine
gender differences in reports of delinquency and academic achievement in a sample of 7th
to 12th graders. Attachment bonds were operationalized as attachment to parents, to
nonparent adults, and to peers; involvement bonds were operationalized as time spent in
various school- and non-school-based activities. The findings suggest that although
several of the involvement bond variables of social control theory are predictive of both
delinquency and academic achievement for both genders, only the attachment bond variables
provide such an overall protective function for females.
Testing informal social control theory: examining lewd behavior during mardi gras
- Redmon D.- Source: Deviant Behavior, Vol 23, Num 4, 1 July 2002
Abstract: This exploratory study extends Forsyth"s research on lewd behavior during
Mardi Gras by testing Sampson and Laub"s (1993) theory of informal social control.
The overall findings do not support Sampson and Laub's theory of informal social control.
Religion and Social Control: An Application of a Modified Social Bond on
Michael A. Cretacci
The central question explored in this article is whether the elements of a revised social
bond, which includes religion, will have an impact on violence across developmental
stages. Tests of social control theory are numerous, but criticism centers on the fact
that the theory has limited explanatory power. Although social control theory is a popular
theory, it was created without addressing a control whose importance was suggested by
several of the authors from whom Hirschi borrowed - religion. The results indicate that
social control theory is a poor explanation of violence.
The Integrated Social Control Model and Ethnicity
The Case of Puerto Rican American Delinquency
ORLANDO RODRIGUEZ, Fordham University, DAVID WEISBURD, Rutgers University
Delinquency research has not generally addressed the question raised by ethnographic research studies concerning the extent
to which the delinquency of specific ethnic
groups can be modeled with a general theory. This study uses data from a survey of
inner-city Puerto Rican American male adolescents to replicate Elliott, Huizinga, and
Ageton's analytical model of delinquency based on an integration of social control, social
learning, and strain theory.
Causes of Conformity: An Application of Social Control Theory to Adult
Charles A. Lindquist, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Alabama at Birmingham,
Birmingham, AL 35294, U.S.A.
Terry Daniels Smusz, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of New River Valley
William Doerner, School of Criminology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306,
The present study represents an attempt to expand Hirschi's social control theory of
delinquency causation to include adult misdemeanant offenders on probation; in addition,
the study proposed to see if social control theory can provide a theoretical framework for
probation prediction studies. Results indicated qualified support for several of the
hypotheses with education and time on present job emerging as salient variables. Analysis
of the data directed attention to several methodological
problems and suggestions for future research.
Juvenile Delinquency in The Republic of China: A Chinese Empirical Study of Social
Journal: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume:12
Issue:1 Dated:(Spring 1988) Pages:59-71
C J Sheu
Data indicated that juvenile delinquency increased dramatically recently in the Republic
Abstract: This paper seeks to explain this phenomenon by invoking Hirschi's Social Control
Theory. However, such an explanation can be offered only when there is empirical evidence
to verify the applicability of Social Control Theory to Chinese society. The study
described here intends to test Social Control Theory by using self-reported data collected
from Chinese junior and senior high school students of northern Taiwan. Apparently, Social
Control Theory received much support from the Chinese data, while both strain theory and
subculture deviance theory were not verified. Social Control Theory is said to be the most
appropriate theory to explain the origin as well as the increased of juvenile delinquency
in Chinese society.
Longitudinal Analysis of Social Control Theory
M D Smith
Social control theory is possibly more successful than most theories of delinquency
because its premises allow for interpretations of variations in delinquent behavior.
Abstract: The social control theory as stated in its contemporary form by Hirschi in
'Causes of Delinquency,' (1969) is empirically examined. The theory states that variations
in delinquent behavior can be related to the possession of four basic elements that bond
an individual to society: an attachment to parents, a belief in the moral validity of
social rules, a commitment to some type of achievement, and an involvement in conventional
activities. Social control theory was tested with data from the Youth in Transition
project, a longitudinal study of a national random sample of male adolescents. Social
control theory was subjected to three tests not reported in the literature. Results
generally demonstrated the validity of the social control theory as an explanation of
A Path Analytic Examination of Differential Social Control Theory.
Ried, L. Douglas
Abstract: Used path analytic techniques to analyze differential social control theory as
predictor of drug use among fifth-eighth grade students. Found that peer non-use
expectations had largest effect on drug use and were directly influenced by parental,
peer, and school attachments.
Social Control Theory and Delinquency: A Multivariate Test.
Authors: Wiatrowski, Michael D.; Swatko, Mary K.
Abstract: Hirschi's social control theory of delinquency status that delinquency
involvement is the function of the failure of an adolescent to form or maintain a bond to
society comprised of attachment, commitment, involvement and belief. Multivariate models
of social control theory which simultaneously consider how all of the bond elements
operate in relation to delinquency were investigated. Factor analysis and communality
analysis were used to examine the empirical support for the uniqueness of the four bond
elements; a great deal of shared variance among them was found. Measures of social class
and ability as background factors were also added to the model to explicate the effects of
those variables on the educational and occupational aspirational parts of social control
TESTING SOCIAL CONTROL THEORY AND DIFFERENTIAL
ASSOCIATION: A REANALYSIS OF THE RICHMOND YOUTH PROJECT DATA
BARBARA J. COSTELLO, PAUL R. VOWELL
In what has become a classic work in the field, Matsueda (1982) tested social control
theory against differential association theory using Hirschi's (1969) Richmond Youth
Project data. Matsueda found that measures of "definitions favorable to law
violation" entirely mediated the effect of his social control measures and friends'
delinquency, and concluded that differential association theory was supported over social
control theory. We also propose and test a new method of measuring the social bond,
conceptualizing the social bond as a second-order latent construct. In contrast with
Matsueda's findings, we find that the social bond and friends' delinquency retain
important direct effects on delinquency, and that these effects are greater than those of
definitions. Thus, our results are more supportive of social control theory than
differential association theory.
Social Control Theory and Delinquency.