Is Social Control Theory Crime Specific? An Examination of the Relationship Between Societal-Level Bonds and Adolescent Criminal Offenses Using Structural Equation Modeling

Carrie Oser, University of Georgia
Tanja C. Link, University of Georgia

ABSTRACT
Travis Hirschi (1969) posits that the bond an individual maintains with society is divided into four main components: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. The stronger the bond to conventional acts and the greater the belief in vested social institutions via the four main elements of the bond, the less likely the individual will be to engage in delinquent or criminal acts. The focus of this analysis is to determine if the four elements of the bond serve as a valuable buffer against all types of criminal offenses. Specifically, it is hypothesized that social control theory will be crime specific in that the social control elements will vary in their predictive power of the percentage of adolescents' engaging in a variety of criminal offenses including personal crime, property crime, drug offenses, and status offenses. The data will be analyzed using the in-home questionnaires of both Wave I and Wave II of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Udry, 1997). Structural Equation Modeling will be used to explore the effects of societal-level bonds on adolescent personal crime, property crime, drug offenses, as well as status offenses.

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Updated 05/20/2006