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Assumptions about “Motivation towards crime”. Strain theory: motivation from some sort of strain (e.g. blocked opportunity) Learning theory: motivation from delinquent peers Control theory: there is enough natural motivation towards crime No need to “build in” extra motivation.

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assumptions about motivation towards crime
Assumptions about “Motivation towards crime”
  • Strain theory: motivation from some sort of strain (e.g. blocked opportunity)
  • Learning theory: motivation from delinquent peers
  • Control theory: there is enough natural motivation towards crime
    • No need to “build in” extra motivation
types of control
Types of Control
  • Direct Control
    • Direct punishments, rewards from parents, friends
  • Indirect Control
    • Refrain from deviance because you don’t want to risk friends, job, etc.
  • Internal Control
    • Good self-concept, self-control, conscience
travis hirschi causes of delinquency
Travis HirschiCauses of Delinquency
  • Identified 4 Elements of the Bond
    • Attachment (emotional element)
    • Commitment (stake in conformity)
    • Involvement (in conventional activities)
    • Belief (in the validity of the law)
  • Focus here is on indirect controls
evidence in favor of bonds
Evidence in Favor of Bonds
  • Attachment
    • Attachment to parents (wish to emulate, identify with)
  • Commitment
    • Grades, educational aspirations
  • Belief
    • Neutralizations
criticisms of hirschi s theory
Criticisms of Hirschi’s Theory
  • Delinquents do form relationships
  • Attachment to delinquent peers or parents increases, rather than decreases delinquency
  • Which comes first, bonds or delinquency?
  • Bonds more salient for females, and early in adolescence
gottfredson and hirschi 1990
Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990)
  • A General Theory of Crime
    • Same control theory assumptions
    • If we are all inclined to be deviant, why conform?
  • Because most of us develop “self-control”
    • “Internal control”
    • Developed by age 8, as the result of “direct control” from parents
nature of crime nature of low self control
Nature of Crime, Nature of Low Self-Control

Criminal Acts…

Provide immediate gratification

of desires

Are risky/thrilling

Are easy/simple

Require little skill/planning

Provide few/meager long term


Result in pain/discomfort to a


People with low self-control

are therefore…



Physical (as opposed to mental)

Low verbal ability



the implications of low self control
The implications of low self-control
  • Explains “stability of criminal behavior”
    • But, how does it explain “aging out?”
  • Explains all crime and analogous behaviors
    • Analogous = same “nature” as criminal acts
patterson revisited revenge of the control theorists
Patterson Revisited: Revenge of the control theorists



and punish


  • Parenting
  • Context




Is Patterson a “social learning” or “control” theorist???

empirical support
Empirical Support
  • Moderate relationship between low self-control and both crime and analogous behaviors
  • Holds for both males and females
  • BUT
    • Not the “sole cause” of crime
    • May not explain white collar crimes
policy implications
Policy Implications
  • Hirschi’s Social Bond Theory
    • Target attachment, commitment, belief
  • Gottfredson and Hirschi’s General Theory
    • Must focus on early childhood prevention
    • Train parents?
review control vs learning
  • Assumptions about motivation (and human nature)
  • Differences over attachment to “deviant others”
  • Similarity?
    • “Direct Controls” are similar to “Mechanisms of Learning”