Worcester State University Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Aimee Delaney

Delaney Lutz’s Research Adds Global View to Self-Control Theory

March 7, 2014
By: Worcester State University News

Aimée Delaney Lutz (Criminal Justice) presented a paper titled “An international perspective on revised self-control theory” at the 51st annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in Philadelphia during February 2014.

This paper explores social control theorists Gottfredson and Hirschi’s argument that individual self-control and personal attachments are conceptually equivalent across 32 different nations.  It appears to be the first research to examine the “self-control/social bonds” thesis (Morris, Gerber & Menard, 2011) through an international perspective.

Focusing on the newest classification of “youth,” i.e., emerging adults, this study shows that self-control and attachments are different constructs. Further, the results confirm that, on average, measures of self-control and attachments, independently, are significantly associated with less criminal behavior across the 32 different nations. However, when both constructs are included in the regression model, the relationship between self-control and criminal behavior is mediated by youth’s attachments to their parents.

This study demonstrates, at least preliminary, that youths’ bonds with their parents are an important mechanism to prevent criminal behavior among the developmental stage in which youth are most likely to engage in criminal behavior regardless of one’s national origin.

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