Testing the Stability of Self-Control: Identifying Unique Developmental Patterns and Associated Risk Factors

James V. Ray, Shayne Jones, Thomas A. Loughran, Wesley G. Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gottfredson and Hirschi suggest that individuals' levels of self-control remain stable over the life course; however, the empirical status of this proposition remains equivocal. Most tests of the stability hypothesis have employed aggregate assessment methods (e.g., mean-level and correlational analyses) that overlook unique developmental patterns, although some have identified unique developmental patterns in self-control. The current study assesses the stability of self-control across 4 years using both traditional analytic methods and methods that account for the existence of unique developmental patterns (i.e., semiparametric group-based trajectory modeling) and exploring risk factors that differentiate these patterns. The results suggest six unique developmental patterns of self-control: two with high stable trajectories and four that evinced lower, less stable trajectories of self-control. The findings indicate that lower, less stable patterns of development are associated with more delinquent peer association, higher rates of parental criminality, fewer school bonds, and weaker maternal attachment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-607
Number of pages20
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law

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