Criminological Theory Self-Control Theory vs Research Paper

Download this Research Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Research Paper:

A third would prove less immediately apparent.

One respondent remembered with mild embarrassment a time when he was caught shoplifting a candy bar. He was 7 years old and was in a convenience mart with his mother. He asked her if she would buy him a Snickers Bar and she refused. She told him she didn't have the money for it right then. Therefore, when she turned her back, he grabbed a Snickers Bar and stuffed it into his pocket. He looked around nervously but didn't think anybody saw him. As they approached the register, a clerk approached the boy and asked him sternly if he had anything he wanted to confess. The boy was immediately overcome with guilt and turned over the candy bar. Of course, his mother was furious, apologized to the clerk and grounded him from playing for a week.

Clearly, this experience would reflect Gottfredson and Hirschi's low self-control theory. The respondent was at the developmental stage where his impulse control failed him. He failed to think of the consequences and in that moment was driven only by the thought that he wanted that candy bar. Naturally, this would be a tremendous learning experience for the boy, who reported during the interview that he never stole another thing, remaining highly conscious of the consequences. This denotes that his development experiences have taught him the self-control that eventually solidifies around consideration of the consequences of one's actions in non-criminal adults.

Another interesting story came from a young man who remembered that when he was in 5th and 6th grade, it was considered a badge of honor to climb on to the roof of the school. It was a one-story elementary school that could be scaled by climbing up onto a window-unit air condition. The roof, the respondent said, was filled with tennis balls, Frisbees and other objects lost during recess. Essentially, he said this was an 'all the cool kids are doing it' sort of thing. Though he would never do it now, he said that it was considered a cultural norm to climb on the roof during the weekends and play, though it was also done knowing full well that police officers might arrive at any minute to put an end to this fun.

The respondent's experience corresponds with the Differential Association Theory, in which Sutherland argues that individual actors will be inclined by their cultural and social associations. In his case, the respondent indicated that for the boys especially, there was a normative pressure to show that you were not afraid to climb on the roof of the school. Moreover, there was a sense that this action was somehow justified because everybody had done it. The notion that 'everybody' engages in this deviant behavior proceeds from a differential association such that the limited social context from which this association is drawn produces the impression that the activity is actually normal and universal.

With respect to the third respondent, this young woman would report to sneaking into R-Rated movies with her friends in junior high. In fact, she told the story of going to the theatre to see a violent action film with her two best friends and having the usher actually walk down the aisle, find them, and eject them from a theatre in the middle of the movie. From her perspective, there was no harm in seeing R-Rated movies, and it was her view that everybody did this. Again, this reflects the implications of the Differential Association Theory. Within the context of her generation, age group and culture, sneaking into R-Rated movies was an accepted and sensible act. She would also state that the only harm was in potentially getting caught, and indicated that she never really thought of that until after it happened. In this respect, there is also some degree of the Self-Control Theory invoked, suggesting that the respondent may not have developed the type of impulse control to prevent her from engaging in socially deviant activities such as this as an adult.

Works Cited:

Gottfredson, M.R. & Hirschi, T. (1990). A General Theory of Crime. Stanford University Press.

Mork, B. (2006). Differential Association Theory. University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Wrights, B. (2008). Gottfredson and Hirschi's Low Self-Control Theory;…[continue]

Cite This Research Paper:

"Criminological Theory Self-Control Theory Vs " (2010, October 07) Retrieved December 9, 2016, from

"Criminological Theory Self-Control Theory Vs " 07 October 2010. Web.9 December. 2016. <>

"Criminological Theory Self-Control Theory Vs ", 07 October 2010, Accessed.9 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Crime Theories Psychological Theories of Criminal Behavior

    Crime Theories Psychological theories of criminal behavior focus on the individual, rather than on contextual factors (as sociological theories of crime do) or on biological factors (such as genetics). Personality, traits, and cognitions are all covered under the rubric of psychological theories of crime. One of the prevailing and most widely accepted psychological theory of crime is rational choice theory. Rational choice theory " is perhaps the most common reason why

  • Philosophical Approaches

    Criminological Theories Philosophical approaches Philosophical approaches to criminology: Two differing ethical worldviews regarding free will and choice The rational choice theory of criminology is perhaps the oldest theory of why people commit crimes. "Rational choice theories explain social behavior via the aggregated actions of rational or purposive actors. The actors are rational in the sense that, given a set of values and beliefs, they calculate the relative costs and benefits of alternative actions and,

  • Criminology Theories and Their Impact

    " One study examined 595 participants, who filled out questionnaires for the research and concluded that social bonding issues play a part in social deviance including the use of drugs and alcohol (Pawlak, 1993). Relating Theory to Social Issue Relating the two criminology theories to the current social issue of adolescent substance abuse, is relatively easy to do. In each of the theories, studies have been conducted to ascertain the amount, if any,

  • Development of Aggression From a Heritability Perspective

    Aggression from a Heritability Perspective There is a social bias against the idea of aggression, so that many people conflate the ideas of aggression and violence, so that they cannot separate them. This suggests that aggression is negative, which is not necessarily the case. The result has been that suggestions that aggression is somehow genetic have been morphed into the notion that people carrying those genes must somehow be inferior

  • Individual Level Attributes or Aggregate Characteristics

    , 2011). Instead, social control theories suggest that neighborhoods are somewhat informally self-regulating (Sampson et al., 2011). This lack of criminal self-regulation may stem from a feeling of being disenfranchised, as if the criminal laws have been created without reference to the needs of that community. In fact, in the United States, there is a definite cultural conflict regarding criminal codes (Sutherland & Cressey, 2011). Perhaps the most famous example

  • Training of the Metropolitan Police

    Based on the foregoing considerations, it is suggested that the DCMP restructure their existing training programs and administration so that a more unified and centralized plan is in place, as well as providing for better instructor qualifications, evaluation, learning retention and more efficient and effective use of resources which are by definition scarce. These broad general issues were refined for the purposes of this study into the research questions stated

  • The Philosophy of Neo Confucianism

    Neo-Confucianism is a philosophy which was born from the need to explain the existence of man and the universe in a manner which was just as complex as the Buddhist one. The philosophers which belong to this school of thought took the core of the Confucian philosophy and enriched it with contributions from other philosophies. It can also be stated that neo-Confucianism is a reaction to various provocations of philosophical

Read Full Research Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved