skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 77785 Find in a Library
Title: Deterrence and the Morality Committed
Journal: Sociological Quarterly  Volume:22  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1981)  Pages:1-14
Author(s): H G Grasmick; D E Green
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK 73069
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This research posits that a perceived threat of legal sanction has a deterrent effect at all levels of moral commitment.
Abstract: A total of 400 randomly selected adult residents of a metropolitan community in the Southwest were interviewed concerning past and future violations in eight illegal behaviors: theft ($20 or more), illegal gambling, tax cheating, theft (less than $20), hurting someone, littering, illegal fireworks, and drunk driving. Their responses were correlated with three independent variables: perceived certainty and severity of punishment and moral commitment. Controlling for the additive effects and first-order interactions, the study found that the combination of low moral commitment, high peceived certainty, and high perceived severity leads to low involvement in illegal behavior. Yet many of those who are morally committed to a legal norm have violated it in the past and believe they probably will in the future. Thus, legal sanction threat is not a residual, secondary factor in deterrence and should have a more central place in sociological theories of social control. Tabular data and over 30 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Deterrence effectiveness; Social control theory
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.