Psychosocial Control Characteristics of Delinquents and Nondelinquents

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research into control theory has primarily employed self-reported delinquency data and recruited students rather than young offenders as subjects. It has been uncertain if the control approach is useful in understanding the behavior of truly delinquent young offenders. The present study examined the psychosocial control characteristics of 103 pairs of official delinquents and nondelinquents matched on social background. Delinquents were found to have lower levels of personal and social control than nondelinquents. Delinquents were more impulsive, were less attached to their parents, liked school less, and had lower educational and occupational expectations and weaker beliefs in the moral validity of the law. These findings provide further evidence of the utility of extending Hirschi's (1969) social control theory to include personal control characteristics, particularly impulse control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-303
Number of pages17
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991


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