1932

Abstract

Over the past several decades, Gottfredson & Hirschi's self-control theory (SCT) has dominated research on self-control and crime. In this review, I assess the current state of self-control knowledge and encourage the field to move beyond SCT, as its peculiar conceptualization of self-control and the causal model present challenges for integrative scholarship. Drawing heavily on scholarship outside criminology, I clarify the definition of self-control; describe the malleable nature of trait self-control; highlight its situational variability as state self-control; and consider the multiplicity of contextual, situational, and individual factors that affect its operation in relation to crime. This specification of contingencies and the interplay between impulse strength and control efforts in the process of self-control is intended as a springboard for research moving beyond SCT and its key premise that self-control (ability) is sufficient to explain individual variation in crime (i.e., is tantamount to criminality). Finally, I address what I see as important areas for further study in light of current knowledge.

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2020-01-13
2024-06-20
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