Gender, Self-Control, Social Bonds, and Delinquency

Spencer De Li, Florida State University

This study examines the interaction between social bonds and low self-control and their effects on juvenile delinquency using data collected from a nationally representative sample of high school students. The central question asked in this study is whether the effects of social bonds have the same effects on juvenile delinquency of adolescents with different levels of self-control. To address this question, we compare criminal activities of male and female students in relation to their strength in social bonds and self-control. Contrary to the social control theory, we argue that males and females do not respond to informal control in the same way because they possess different levels of self-control. While social bonds reduce both male and female delinquency, they affect male delinquency more strongly because male adolescents possess higher level of antisocial tendency than female adolescents. Findings from a multivariate regression analysis lend support for these hypotheses. Implications are presented for future research on social bonds as means of crime prevention and control.

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Updated 05/20/2006