Chapter 33: Self-Control Theory
Travis C. Pratt & Jonathon A. Cooper
Self-control theory Self-control theory—often referred to as the general theory of crime —has emerged as one of the major theoretical paradigms in the field of criminology. This is no small feat, given the diversity of criminological perspectives that exist in general and the ever-growing roster of recently sprouted control theories in particular. To be sure, scholars have developed models of formal social control (e.g., rational choice/deterrence theories), informal social control (e.g., social disorganization, collective efficacy), indirect control (e.g., social bond theories), power control, and so on, yet self-control theory has arguably become the most influential member of the control theory family since its publication by M. R. Gottfredson and Hirschi in 1990. Accordingly, the purpose of this chapter is fourfold: (1) to provide an overview of the core theoretical propositions specified by self-control theory (i.e., what causes crime, according to this perspective?); (2) to critically assess its empirical status (i.e., ...