Disentangling Belief and Self-Control

Barbara J. Costello, University of Rhode Island

ABSTRACT
Gottfredson and Hirschi's self-control theory has been criticized for its neglect of variables important to Hirschi's social control theory. This paper examines the theoretical and empirical overlap between the concepts obelief and self-control. Analysis of survey data collected in Fayetteville, Arkansas show a substantial empirical relationship between measures of belief and self-control. This suggests that the omission of belief in self-control theory is not an important weakness, as the processes that lead to the acquisition of both belief and self-control are essentially the same from a control theory perspective. Further, it is argued that these findings are difficult to reconcile with competing theoretical perspectives such as strain and differential association theories.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006