Tracing the Evolution of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s Concept of Self-Control: A Conceptual and Empirical Analysis

by Dodson, Kimberly D.

Abstract (Summary)
The principal purpose of this dissertation was to develop and test a measure of self-control based on Hirschi’s (2004) revised conceptualization of the central theoretical construct in Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) A General Theory of Crime. This study also tests the principal proposition of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) general theory by using path analysis to examine the association between a measure of Hirschi’s (2004) modified concept of self-control and self-reported deviance while incorporating gender, a theoretically and empirically important variable. The survey instrument was administered to an availability sample (n = 257) of undergraduate students who are enrolled in introductory criminology courses at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The quality of the revised bond-based self-control measures was assessed by examining its reliability, validity, and dimensionality. The findings indicate that the bond-based self-control scale developed for this study was a reliable and valid measure. The results also indicate the bond-based self-control measure was a unidimensional construct as suggested by Hirschi (2004). In this study, two theoretical models based on Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) discussion on gender and crime were evaluated i.e., an indirect effects model and a direct and indirect effects model. Two measures of self-control and one measure of deviance were developed and included in the models that were tested. In the first model, the indirect effects of gender on hypothetical scenario design (HSD) theft via HSD selfcontrol were tested. The second model tested the indirect effects of gender on deviance through bond-based self-control. The results indicate that there is empirical support for Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) assertions about the gender-crime relationship. That is, gender has a direct effect on both the HSD and bond-based self-control measures and gender has a direct effect on deviance. In addition, self-control has a direct effect on both deviance and theft. Future research should focus on further development of a measure of self-control based on Hirschi’s (2004) reconceptualization of the self-control concept. Researchers should also continue to test theoretical models that include gender so that we might gain a better understanding of the role gender in Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) general theory.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Indiana University of Pennsylvania

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:self control social bond


Date of Publication:05/06/2009

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