The roles of social bonds, personality, and perceived costs: An empirical investigation into Hirschi's "new" control theory

  • Intravia J
  • Jones S
  • Piquero A
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Hirschi’s reconceptualized control theory suggests that social bonds serve as the primary inhibitors to delinquency and that personality-based self-control (PBSC) is not relevant. He also indicates that the number of inhibitors, multiplied by their salience, influences the perceived costs of delinquency. These claims have not been widely tested. Using a large, school-based sample of adolescents, the authors test Hirschi’s reconceptualization and find that certain inhibitors (e.g., parental monitoring) are more important than others (e.g., maternal attachment). There are also unique types of costs (e.g., parental costs, peer costs) with differential impacts. Salience exerts a main effect, but there was little evidence to suggest it interacts with costs. Finally, PBSC has the strongest effect. These findings not only offer support for some of Hirschi’s claims but also provide directions to better formulate a more comprehensive and empirically supported control theory.

Author-supplied keywords

  • delinquency
  • general theory of crime
  • self-control

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  • Jonathan Intravia

  • Shayne Jones

  • Alex R. Piquero

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