|Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory includes the notion of selfcontrol as an integral explanatory factor for why individuals are restrained from criminality. It has been argued that in order for the theory to have a policy impact, caregivers must ascribe to a social contract in which the benefit of longterm planning and delayed gratification is commonly valued. Otherwise, caregivers are not equipped to recognize or sanction deviant behavior stemming from a child's lack of self-control. Traditionally, institutional ties that might measure a caregiver's commitment to the social contract have been explored through counting frequency of involvement with institutional activity. Instead, I am suggesting that institutional ties might better be measured through the use of symbolic association with the institutions of religion, education, family, and law. This paper will explore the theoretical appeal and empirical support for such an approach.
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