An Examination of Self-Control Theory: A General Theory of Crime?

Traronda L. Latimore, North Carolina State University

This research explores whether Gottfredson and Hirschi's self-control theory can account for racial differences in crime. In their presentation of A General Theory of Crime, Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990:117) contend that self-control theory explains "all crime, at all times." They propose that low self-control, in interaction with opportunity, is the individual-level cause of crime. Furthermore, they suggest that the major cause of low self-control is ineffective child-rearing. Thus, this research explores the role of child-rearing practices in the development of self-control in accounting for racial differences in criminal offending. The implications of this research for self-control theory are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006