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Low self-control, social bonds, and crime: Social causation, social selection, or both?

Publication ,  Journal Article
Entner Wright, BRE; Caspi, A; Moffitt, TE; Silva, PA
Published in: Criminology
January 1, 1999

This article examines the social-selection and social-causation processes that generate criminal behavior. We describe these processes with three theoretical models: a social-causation model that links crime to contemporaneous social relationships; a social-selection model that links crime to personal characteristics formed in childhood; and a mixed selection-causation model that links crime to social relationships and childhood characteristics. We tested these models with a longitudinal study in Dunedin, New Zealand, of individuals followed from birth through age 21. We analyzed measures of childhood and adolescent low self-control as well as adolescent and adult social bonds and criminal behavior. In support of social selection, we found that low self-control in childhood predicted disrupted social bonds and criminal offending later in life. In support of social causation, we found that social bonds and adolescent delinquency predicted later adult crime and, further, that the effect of self-control on crime was largely mediated by social bonds. In support of both selection and causation, we found that the social-causation effects remained significant even when controlling for preexisting levels of self-control, but that their effects diminished. Taken together, these findings support theoretical models that incorporate social-selection and social-causation processes.

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Published In

Criminology

DOI

ISSN

0011-1384

Publication Date

January 1, 1999

Volume

37

Issue

3

Start / End Page

479 / 514

Related Subject Headings

  • Criminology
  • 4402 Criminology
  • 2203 Philosophy
  • 2201 Applied Ethics
  • 1602 Criminology
 

Citation

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Chicago
ICMJE
MLA
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Entner Wright, B. R. E., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., & Silva, P. A. (1999). Low self-control, social bonds, and crime: Social causation, social selection, or both? Criminology, 37(3), 479–514. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1999.tb00494.x
Entner Wright, B. R. E., A. Caspi, T. E. Moffitt, and P. A. Silva. “Low self-control, social bonds, and crime: Social causation, social selection, or both?Criminology 37, no. 3 (January 1, 1999): 479–514. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1999.tb00494.x.
Entner Wright BRE, Caspi A, Moffitt TE, Silva PA. Low self-control, social bonds, and crime: Social causation, social selection, or both? Criminology. 1999 Jan 1;37(3):479–514.
Entner Wright, B. R. E., et al. “Low self-control, social bonds, and crime: Social causation, social selection, or both?Criminology, vol. 37, no. 3, Jan. 1999, pp. 479–514. Scopus, doi:10.1111/j.1745-9125.1999.tb00494.x.
Entner Wright BRE, Caspi A, Moffitt TE, Silva PA. Low self-control, social bonds, and crime: Social causation, social selection, or both? Criminology. 1999 Jan 1;37(3):479–514.
Journal cover image

Published In

Criminology

DOI

ISSN

0011-1384

Publication Date

January 1, 1999

Volume

37

Issue

3

Start / End Page

479 / 514

Related Subject Headings

  • Criminology
  • 4402 Criminology
  • 2203 Philosophy
  • 2201 Applied Ethics
  • 1602 Criminology