Neighborhood Disadvantage, Self-Control and Socialization: A Test of a Multi-Level Theoretical Model

Brent Teasdale, The Pennsylvania State University

This work attempts to incorporate self-control within a social disorganization framework. Although focused on different levels of analysis, I suggest that self-control and social disorganization are complementary perspectives with each offering something new and productive to the other. Specifically I argue that parenting occurs within a neighborhood context and is, in part, a reaction to community concerns. Additionally community level processes such as collective efficacy, social capital, and intergenerational closure are important links between community structural context and self-control. In order to test this multi-level theoretical perspective, I utilize hierarchical modeling to analyze data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health. The results indicate that community disadvantage is a significant predictor of adolescent self-control. Furthermore, this relationship holds controlling for relevant demographic and social selection variables. Additionally, I find that self-control mediates as much of the relationship between disadvantage and violent offending as the traditional mediators of social disorganization theory. I discuss implications for criminological theory, limitations and directions for future study.

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Updated 05/20/2006