Parent and Peer Restrictions of Opportunities Attenuate the Link between Low Self-control and Antisocial Behavior


Correspondence should be addressed to Robert Laird, Department of Psychology, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA. Email:


Focusing on parents and peers as restrictors of opportunities, this study tested whether restricted opportunities attenuate the link between low self-control and antisocial behavior as hypothesized by the General Theory of Crime. Early adolescents (N = 180, M age = 12.04 years, 49.4 percent female, 49 percent European American, 45 percent African American) reported their levels of self-control, antisocial peer involvement, unsupervised time, parental solicitation, family rules, and involvement in antisocial behavior. Low levels of antisocial peer involvement and high levels of parental supervision, solicitation, and family rules were conceptualized as restricted opportunities for antisocial behavior. Opportunity restrictions attenuated the association between low self-control and antisocial behavior such that low self-control was less strongly associated with antisocial behavior when youth experienced less antisocial peer involvement, less unsupervised time, more parental solicitation, and more family rules than when youth experienced more antisocial peer involvement, more unsupervised time, less parental solicitation, and fewer family rules. Results clarify and extend our understanding of the role of restricted opportunities for low self-control youth in the General Theory of Crime.