SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

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.