Criminological Theory Self-Control Theory Vs. Research Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 7 Subject: Criminal Justice Type: Research Paper Paper: #58672773 Related Topics: Social Control Theory, Deviance, Developmental Stage, Shoplifting
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


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;…

Sources Used in Documents:

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; or why kids feed lizards to crocodiles. Everyday Sociology.

Cite this Document:

"Criminological Theory Self-Control Theory Vs " (2010, October 07) Retrieved September 27, 2022, from

"Criminological Theory Self-Control Theory Vs " 07 October 2010. Web.27 September. 2022. <>

"Criminological Theory Self-Control Theory Vs ", 07 October 2010, Accessed.27 September. 2022,

Related Documents
Criminological Theories Criminology Theories Have
Words: 2014 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice Paper #: 35903924

Therefore, in response to criminal actions, the rules and laws of a system are developed. It is their presence that represents the glue of the social parts. One shortcoming of this theory however is the fact that it cannot explain the motivation behind the actual existence of criminal behavior. It tends to perceive the society as a whole, through statistics and factual dates and tries to predict its evolution. Durkheim

Criminological Theory Adults -- and
Words: 1736 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Children Paper #: 19563118

Since, by definition, delinquency areas are characterized by a concentration of delinquents and criminals in a small geographical area, the chances would be slim of a child growing up in such a setting and not coming into contact with values and behavior that supported criminality (Shoemaker 2009). The responsibility of a vice principal is not simply to punish bad behavior, but it is also to try to understand the reasoning for

Analyzing Low Self Control Theory
Words: 2356 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Psychology Paper #: 29114176

Low Self -Control Theory This theory deviates from the emphasis on informal relational controls and concentrates instead on individual controls. Through effective parenting practices of discipline and monitoring, some kids develop the ability to appropriately react to situations requiring deferred gratification planning. Delinquency is observed more frequently among males than females. One explanation for this is the divergent etiologies of delinquency for females and males. Males might be relatively more susceptible

Theory and Its Evaluation
Words: 1208 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice Paper #: 75926065

Theoretical Evaluation Theory Evaluation The initial modern clarification of crime is known as "classical hypothesis" (Cullen and Agnew 2011). This hypothesis was produced in response to the malefic, irrational, and barbaric frameworks of criminal equity that existed in Europe in the 1700s. The laws were frequently arbitrary; judges were corrupt; penal awards for the same wrongdoing varied broadly; and disciplines were at times very cruel, causative of extreme physical abuse and often

Labeling Theory Criminality Is an Unfortunate but
Words: 1119 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice Paper #: 13048017

Labeling Theory Criminality is an unfortunate but inevitable component of human society. As much as people would like to believe that there is a way to create a type of community that has no crime, psychologists and other experts in the field of criminology have done research and created various hypotheses which show that criminality is actually an inevitability under any circumstances where large numbers of human beings interact and then

Sociological Theories of Crime There Are a
Words: 1298 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice Paper #: 10016462

Sociological Theories of Crime There are a number of respected sociological theories of crime and criminality, and in this paper four of those theories -- social control theory, strain theory, differential association theory and neutralization theory -- will be reviewed in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Also, of the theories discussed, one or more will be referenced in terms of the relevance to a recently convicted offender. Social Control Theory According to