Travis C. Pratt is a Ph.D. student in the Division of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati and has recently joined the faculty at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University. His current research interests include institutional and community corrections, and research synthesis in criminological theory.
THE EMPIRICAL STATUS OF GOTTFREDSON AND HIRSCHI'S GENERAL THEORY OF CRIME: A META-ANALYSIS
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Volume 38, Issue 3, pages 931–964, August 2000
How to Cite
PRATT, T. C. and CULLEN, F. T. (2000), THE EMPIRICAL STATUS OF GOTTFREDSON AND HIRSCHI'S GENERAL THEORY OF CRIME: A META-ANALYSIS. Criminology, 38: 931–964. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2000.tb00911.x
Francis T. Cullen is Distinguished Research Professor of Criminal Justice and Sociology at the University of Cincinnati. He has recently coauthored Combating Corporate Crime: Local Prosecutors at Work, Criminological Theory: Past to Present, and Offender Rehabilitation: Effective Correctional Intervention. His current research interests include the measurement of sexual victimization, the impact of social support on crime, and the principles of effective correctional programs.
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
To determine the empirical status of Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) “general theory of crime,” we conducted a meta-analysis on existing empirical studies. The results indicate that, regardless of measurement differences, low self-control is an important predictor of crime and of “analogous behaviors.” Also, low self-control has general effects across different types of samples. Contrary to Gottfredson and Hirschi's position, however, the effect of low self-control is weaker in longitudinal studies, and variables from social learning theory still receive support in studies that include a measure of low self-control. Finally, we argue that meta-analysis is an underutilized tool in discerning the relative empirical merits of criminological theories.