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NCJ Number: 224309 Find in a Library
Title: Gottfredson-Hirschi Critiques Revisited: Reconciling Self-Control Theory, Criminal Careers, and Career Criminals
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology  Volume:52  Issue:5  Dated:October 2008  Pages:520-537
Author(s): Matt DeLisi; Michael G. Vaughn
Date Published: October 2008
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Bethesda, MD 20892-9561
Grant Number: 1 RO3 DA015556-01
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Following a literature review of self-control research that encompasses a criminal career perspective and criminal career outcomes, this study seeks to solidify the relationship between self-control and the study of criminal careers by using a large study group of institutionalized juvenile offenders.
Abstract: Gottfredson and Hirschi (1986, 1987, and 1988) have been vocal critics of the criminal career model, an area of research that dominates contemporary criminology. Based on the current empirical findings, however, it appears that self-control theory holds great promise for the study of high-rate, serious, violent, chronic, and career criminals. Four key findings emerged. First, compared to non-career offenders, career criminals had significantly lower levels of self-control. Second, youths scoring one standard deviation above the mean on the Self-Control Scale had an odds ratio of 5.36 of becoming a career criminal. Third, self-control predicted career criminal membership with receiver operator characteristic-area under the curve sensitivity accuracies between 74 and 87 percent, suggesting that self-control is a potentially useful screening device for chronic criminality. Fourth, low self-control was overwhelmingly the strongest predictor of career criminality and far exceeded the impact of age, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, mental illness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and trauma experience. Revisiting Gottfredson and Hirschi’s critiques of criminal career research, this study views low self-control as being analogous to criminal propensity and examined its predictive validity of career criminality among 723 incarcerated juvenile delinquents. Tables, figure, and references
Main Term(s): Habitual offenders
Index Term(s): Crime causes theory; Criminal career patterns; Deviance; Juvenile to adult criminal careers; Recidivism causes; Recidivists; Theory
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