Criminal Activities and Other Life Consequences: A Test of the General Theory of Crime With High-Risk Juveniles

Sue-Ming Yang, University of Maryland at College Park
Doris Layton MacKenzie, University of Maryland at College Park

Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) argue that the level of self-control is formed through parental practices during the early years of development, self control, in turn, affects an individual's propensity to engage in criminal behavior. According to their theory, people who have a lower level of self-control are risk-takers, impulsive, and have difficulties establishing close interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, they tend to be involved in criminal activities as well as analogous behaviors, which lead to negative life consequences. In a secondary analysis of data obtained from surveys of juveniles in correctional facilities, this study will examine the relationship between self-control, criminal involvements and other types of life consequences. Previous studies tested The General Theory of Crime on conventional populations and hence were criticized for producing inadequate variation within the dependent variable (Hirschi and Gottfredson, 1993). In view of this, the current paper tests The General Theory of Crime using a high-risk juvenile population. This will enable us to capture the variability between self-control and delinquent behavior.

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Updated 05/20/2006