Why focusing on nurture made and still makes sense

The biosocial development of self-control

Authored by: Alexander T. Vazsonyi , Joshua W. Roberts , Li Huang

The Routledge International Handbook of Biosocial Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415722131
eBook ISBN: 9781315858449
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936749


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In this chapter we examine both theoretical and subsequent empirical work on how self-control develops in children based on Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) General Theory of Crime. Few longitudinal studies (e.g. Polakowski, 1994; Vazsonyi and Huang, 2010; for cross-sectional tests cf. Hay, 2001; Perrone et al., 2004) have addressed perhaps one of the most pivotal theoretical arguments, and one of self-control theory’s basic tenets, namely that early socialization processes during the first decade of a child’s life effectively send a child on a life-long self-control trajectory, one highly predictive of norm violations, of deviance, and of criminal conduct. Consider the following analogy.

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