Advertisement

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
Article

Abstract

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 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. 1.
    Aiken, L. S., and West, S. G. (1991). Multiple Regression: Testing and Interpreting Interactions. Sage, Beverly Hills, CA.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Akers, R. L. (1985). Deviant Behavior: A Social Learning Approach, 3rd edn., Wadsworth, Belmont, CA.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Akers, R. L. (1991). Self-control as a general theory of crime. J. Quant. Criminol., 7: 201-211.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Arneklev, B. J., Grasmick, H. G., Bursik, R. J., Jr. (1999). Evaluating the unidimensionality and invariance of “low self-control.”. J. Quant. Criminol., 15: 307-331.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Arneklev, B. J., Grasmick, H. G., Tittle, C. R., and Bursik, R. J., Jr. (1993). Low self-control and imprudent behavior. J. Quant. Criminol., 9: 225-247.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Avakame, E. F. (1998). Intergenerational transmission of violence, self-control, and conjugal violence: A comparative analysis of physical violence and psychological aggression. Violence Vict., 13: 301-316.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bandura, A. (1969). Principles of Behavior Modification. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. General Learning Press, New York.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Barlow, H. D. (1991). Explaining crime and analogous acts, or the unrestrained will grab at pleasure whenever they can. J. Crim. Law Criminol. 82: 229-242.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Baumeister, R. F. (1997). Evil: Inside Human Cruelty and Violence. W.F. Freeman, New York.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Baumeister, R. F., and Exline, J. J. (1999). Virtue, personality, and social relations: Self-control as the moral muscle. J. Pers. 67: 1165-1194.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Baumeister, R. F., and Exline, J. J. (2000). Self-control, morality, and human strength. J. Soc. Clin. Psychol. 19: 29-42.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Baumeister, R. F., Heatherton, T. F., and Tice, D. M. (1994). Losing Control: How and Why People Fail at Self-Regulation. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Beccaria, C. (1963[1764]). On Crimes and Punishment. Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Benson, M. L., and Moore, E. (1992). Are white-collar and common offenders the same? J. Res. Crime Delinq. 29: 251-272.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bentham, J. (1948[1780]). . The Principles of Morals and Legislation. Hefner, New York.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Braithwaite, J. (1989). Crime, Shame, and Reintegration. Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Brownfield, D., and Sorenson, A. M. (1993). Self-control and juvenile delinquency: Theoretical issues and an empirical assessment of selected elements of a general theory of crime. Dev. Behav. 4: 243-264.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Burton, V. S., Cullen, F. T. Jr., Evans, T. D., Alarid, L. F., and Dunaway, R. G. (1998). Gender, self-control, and crime. J. Res. Crime Delinq. 35: 123-147.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Burton, V. S., Jr., Evans, T. D., Cullen, F. T., Ovares, K. M., and Dunaway, R. G. (1999). Age, self-control, and adults' offending behaviors: A research note assessing a general theory of crime. J. Crim. Justice 27: 45-54.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Caspi, A. et al. (1994). Are some people crime-prone? Replications of the personality–crime relationship across countries, genders, races, and methods. Criminology 32: 163-195.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Cochran, J. K., Wood, P. B., Sellers, C. S., Wilkerson, W., and Chamlin, M. B. (1998). Academic dishonesty and low self-control: An empirical test of a general theory of crime. Dev. Behav. 19: 227-255.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cohen, L. E., and Vila, B. J. (1996). Self-control and social control: An exposition of the Gottfredson-Hirschi/Sampson-Laub debate. Stud. Crime Crime Prev. 5: 125-150.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Cooley, C. H. (1902). Human Nature and the Social Order. Scribner, New York.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Cornish, D. B. and Clarke, R. V. (eds.) (1986). The Reasoning Criminal. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Evans, T. D., Cullen, F. T., Burton, V. S., Jr., Dunaway, R. G., and Benson, M. L. (1997). The social consequences of self-control: Testing the general theory of crime. Criminology 35: 475-501.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Felson, M. (1986). Linking criminal choices, routine activities, informal control, and criminal outcomes. In Cornish, D. B. and Clarke, R. V. (eds.), The Reasoning Criminal. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp. 119-128.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Finkel, E. J., and Campbell, W. K. (2001). Self-control and accommodation in close relationships: An interdependence analysis. J. Per. Soc. Psychol. 81: 263-277.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Geis, G. (2000). On the absence of self-control as the basis for a general theory of crime: A critique. Theor. Criminol. 4: 35-53.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Gibbs, J. J., and Giever, D. (1995). Self-control and its manifestations among university students: An empirical test of Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory. Justice Quart. 12: 231-235.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Gibbs, J. J., Giever, D., and Martin, J. S. (1998). Parental management and self-control: An empirical test of Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory. J. Res. Crime Delinq. 35: 40-70.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Giner-Sorolla, R. (2001). Guilty pleasure and grim necessities: Affective attitudes in dilemmas of self-control. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 80: 206-221.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Gottfredson, M. R., and Hirschi, T. (1990). A General Theory of Crime. Stanford University Press, Palo Alto, CA.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Grasmick, H. G., Tittle, C. R., Bursik, R. J. Jr., and Arneklev, B. K. (1993). Testing the core empirical implications of Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory of crime. J. Res. Crime Delinq. 30: 5-29.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Hay, C. (2001). Parenting, self-control, and delinquency: A test of self-control theory. Criminology 39: 707-736.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Hirschi, T. (1969). Causes of Delinquency. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Hirschi, T., and Gottfredson, M. R. (1983). Age and the explanation of crime. Am. J. Sociol. 89: 552-584.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Hirschi, T., and Gottfredson, M. R. (1993). Commentary: Testing the general theory of crime. J. Res. Crime Delinq. 30: 47-54.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Hirschi, T., and Gottfredson, M. R. (1995). Control theory and the life-course perspective. Stud. Crime Crime Prev. 4: 131-142.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Hirschi, T., and Gottfredson, M. R. (2000). In defense of self-control. Theor. Criminol. 4: 55-69.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Horwitz, A. V. (1990). The Logic of Social Control. Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Jackson, T., MacKenzie, J., and Hobfoll, S. E. (2000). Communal aspects of self-regulation. In Boekaerts, M., Pintrichm, P. R., and Zeidner, M. (eds.), Handbook of Self-Regulation. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp. 275-300.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Junger, M., and Tremblay, R. E. (1999). Self-control, accidents, and crime. Crim. Justice Behav. 26: 485-501.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Kaplan, H. B. (1980). Deviant Behavior in Defense of Self. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Keane, C., Maxim, P. S., and Teevan, J. J. (1993). Drinking and driving, self-control, and gender: Testing a general theory of crime. J. Res. Crime Delinq. 30: 30-46.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    LaGrange, T. C., and Silverman, R. A. (1999). Low self-control and opportunity: Testing the general theory of crime as an explanation for gender differences in delinquency. Criminology 37: 41-72.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Longshore, D. (1998). Self-control and criminal opportunity: A prospective test of the general theory of crime. Soc. Prob. 45: 102-113.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Longshore, D., and Turner, S. (1998). Self-control and criminal opportunity: Cross-sectional test of the general theory of crime. Crim. Justice Behav. 25: 81-98.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Longshore, D., Turner, S., and Stein, J. A. (1996). Self-control in a criminal sample: An examination of construct validity. Criminology 34: 209-228.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Longshore, D., Stein, J. A., and Turner, S. (1998). Reliability and validity of a self-control measure: Rejoinder. Criminology 36: 175-182.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Lynam, D. R. et al. (2000). The interaction between impulsivity and neighborhood context on offending: The effects of impulsivity are stronger in poorer neighborhoods. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 109: 563-574.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Matsueda, R. L. (1992). Reflected appraisals, parental labeling, and delinquency: Specifying a symbolic interactionist theory. Am. J. Sociol. 97: 1577-1611.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Matsueda, R. L., and Heimer, K. (1997). A symbolic interactionist theory of role-transitions, role-commitments, and delinquency. In Thornberry, T. P. (ed.) Developmental Theories of Crime and Delinquency, Transaction. New Brunswick, NJ, pp. 163-213.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, Self, and Society. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Miller, J. D., and Lynam, D. (2001). Structural models of personality and their relation to antisocial behavior: A meta-analytic review. Criminology 39: 765-798.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Silva, P. A., and Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1995). Individual differences in personality and intelligence are linked to crime: Cross-context evidence from nations, neighborhoods, genders, races and age cohorts. Current Perspect. Aging Life Cycle 3: 1-34.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Muraven, M., Tice, D. M., and Baumeister, R. (1998). Self-control as a limited resource: Regulatory depletion patterns. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 74: 774-789.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Nagin, D. S., and Paternoster, R. (1993). Enduring individual differences and rational choice theories of crime. Law Soc. Rev. 27: 467-496.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Nakhaie, M. R., Silverman, R. A., and LaGrange, T. C. (2000). Self-control and social control: An examination of gender, ethnicity, class and delinquency. Can. J. Sociol. 25: 35-39.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Nunnally, J. C., and Bernstein, I. H. (1994). Psychometric Theory, 3rd edn. McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Paternoster, R., and Brame, R. (1998). The structural similarity of processes generating criminal and analogous behaviors. Criminology 36: 633-670.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Paternoster, R., Brame, R., Mazerolle, P., and Piquero, A. (1998). Using the correct statistical test for the equality of regression coefficients. Criminology 36: 859-866.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Piquero, A. R., and Rosay, A. B. (1998). The reliability and validity of Grasmick et al.'s self-control scale: A comment on Longshore et al. Criminology 36: 157-174.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Piquero, A. R., MacIntosh, R., and Hickman, M. (2000). Does self-control affect survey response? Applying exploratory, confirmatory, and item response theory analysis to Grasmick et al.'s self-control scale. Criminology 38: 897-929.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Piquero, A. R., and Tibbetts, S. (1996). Specifying the direct and indirect effects of low self-control and situational factors in offenders' decision making: Toward a more complete model of rational offending. Justice Quart. 13: 481-510.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Polakowski, M. (1994). Linking self-and social-control with deviance: Illuminating the structure underlying a general theory of crime and its relation to deviant activity. J. Quant. Criminol. 10: 41-78.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Pratt, T. C., and Cullen, F. T. (2000). The empirical status of Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory of crime: A meta-analysis. Criminology 38: 931-964.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Reckless, W. C., Dinitz, S., and Kay, B. (1957). The self-component in potential delinquency and potential non-delinquency. Am. Soc. Rev. 25: 566-570.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Reed, G. E., and Yeager, P. C. (1996). Organizational offending and neoclassical criminology: Challenging the reach of a general theory of crime. Criminology 34: 357-382.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Reiss, A. J., Jr. (1951). Delinquency as the failure of personal and social controls. Am. Soc. Rev. 16: 196-207.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Robins, L. (1966). Deviant Children Grown Up. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Robins, L. (1978). Aetiological implications in studies of childhood histories relating to antisocial personality. In Hare, R., and Schalling, D. (eds.), Psychopathic Behavior. Wiley, New York, pp. 255-271.Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the Self. Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Sellers, C. S. (1999). Self-control and intimate violence: An examination of the scope and specification of the general theory of crime. Criminology. 37: 375-404.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Steffensmeier, D. J., and Allan, E. A. (1995). Age-inequality and property crime: the effects of age-linked stratification and status-attainment processes on patterns of criminality across the life course. In Hagan, J., andPeterson, R. D.(eds.), Crime and Inequality Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, pp. 95-115.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Stryker, S. (1980). Symbolic Interactionism. Benjamin/Cummins, Menlo Park, CA.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Tittle, C. R. (1991). A general theory of crime: A book review. Am. J. Sociol. 96: 1609-1611.Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Tittle, C. R., and Grasmick, H. G. (1997). Criminal behavior and age: A test of three provocative hypotheses. J. Crim. Law Criminol. 88: 309-342.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Toby, J. (1957). Social disorganization and stake in conformity: Complementary factors in the predatory behavior of hoodlums. J. Crim. Law Criminol. Police Sci. 48: 12-17.Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Tremblay, R. E., Boulerice, B., Arseneault, L., and Niscale, M. J. (1995). Does low self-control during childhood explain the association between delinquency and accidents in early adolescence? Crim. Behav. Mental Health 5: 439-451.Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Trope, Y., and Fisbach, A. (2000). Counteractive self-control in overcoming temptations. J. Per. Soc. Psychol. 79: 493-506.Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    Vazsonyi, A. T., Pickering, L. E., Junger, M., and Hessing, D. (2001). An empirical test of a general theory of crime: A four-nation comparative study of self-control and the prediction of deviance. J. Res. Crime Delinq. 38: 91-131.Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    White, J. et al. (1994). Measuring impulsivity and examining its relationship to delinquency. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 103: 192-205.Google Scholar
  85. 85.
    Wilson, J. Q., and Herrnstein, R. J. (1985). Crime and Human Nature. Simon and Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
  86. 86.
    Winfree, L. T., and Bernat, F. P. (1998). Social learning, self-control, and substance abuse by eighth grade students: A tale of two cities. J. Drug Issues 28: 539-558.Google Scholar
  87. 87.
    Wright, B. R. E., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., and Silva, P. A. (1999). Low self-control, social bonds, and crime: Social causation, social selection, or both? Crimimology 37: 479-514.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations