Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 143–172 | Cite as

Capacity for Self-Control and Individuals' Interest in Exercising Self-Control

  • Charles R. Tittle
  • David A. Ward
  • Harold G. Grasmick


We identify and elaborate a conceptual distinction between capability for self-control and the desire to exercise it, and employ data from a city survey to explore the empirical viability of such a differentiation. Separate scales measuring ability and desire to exercise self-control both prove to be significant and moderately strong predictors of several measures of criminal/deviant behavior, showing independent, cumulative, and interactive relationships with each other. For some measures of crime/deviance, self-control capability is most effective when the individual's interest in exercising self-control is low but its effect is greatly reduced or eliminated when desire to exercise self-control desire is high. Combinations of capability for self-control and interest in exercising it prove to be particularly good predictors of the absolute level of misbehavior.

self-control self-control ability capacity for self-control interest in exercising self-control self-control desire deviant behavior criminal behavior 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles R. Tittle
    • 1
  • David A. Ward
    • 2
  • Harold G. Grasmick
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyNorth Carolina State UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyClemson UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity of OklahomaJapan

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