Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 263–277 | Cite as

Self-control Depletion and the General Theory of Crime

  • Mark MuravenEmail author
  • Greg Pogarsky
  • Dikla Shmueli
Original Paper


Criminological research on self-control focuses mainly on self-control failure. Such research has not, however, investigated the consequences of exercising self-control for the individual doing so. The present study investigates this issue within the framework of both criminological self-control theory and research on self-control depletion from social psychology, which depicts self-control as akin to a “muscle” that is “depletable” by prior use [Muraven and Baumeister (2000) Psycholog Bull 126:247–259]. Results are presented from a laboratory experiment in which students have the opportunity to cheat. Both “trait self-control,” as measured by the Grasmick et al. [(1993) J Res Crime Delinq 30:5–29] self-control inventory, and “self-control depletion” independently predicted cheating. The implications of these findings are explored for criminological perspectives on self-control and offender decision-making.


Self-control Experiment Deterrence Decision-making A general theory of crime 



Research support is acknowledged from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (grant# R01 DA 016131). The authors also wish to thank Joseph Mauro and Jessica Lopez for invaluable research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity at AlbanyAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminal JusticeUniversity at AlbanyAlbanyNYUSA

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