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UF / Sociology / CCJ 4014 / strengths and weaknesses of self control theory

strengths and weaknesses of self control theory

strengths and weaknesses of self control theory


School: University of Florida
Department: Sociology
Course: Criminological Theory
Professor: Abby fagan
Term: Fall 2016
Cost: 50
Name: Crim theory test 2 study guide
Description: Chapters 6, 8, 9
Uploaded: 03/13/2017
14 Pages 216 Views 0 Unlocks

∙ How is commitment measured?

∙ how is attachment measured?

o Social control theory assumes we are all willing to break the law o Asks: why don’t people break the law?

Crim theory test 2 study guide  Feb 14 ∙ Social control/bonding theory  o Social control theory assumes we are all willing to break the law  o Asks: why don’t people break the law?  People refrain due to bonds to individuals and institutions   People refrain when they have high levels of externWe also discuss several other topics like appm 1350
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al or  internal control o Variation in control, not variation in motivation, explains why  some people break the law more than others  ∙ Hirschi’s social bond theory  o Delinquency occurs when bonds are weak  o His four key elements: (low attachment, commitment,  involvement, belief crime more likely)  Attachment to others  ∙ “If a person does not care about the wishes and  expectations of other people…if he is insensitive to  the opinion of others, then he is to that extent not  bound by the norms. He is free to deviate” ∙ involves: o emotional connections to others o internalization of others’ norms  o indirect control  ∙ how is attachment measured? o To parents: supervision, communication,  affection o To school: grades, positive attitudes  o To work: employment history, status   Commitment to conformity  ∙ People’s “stakes in conformity” keep them from  breaking the law  o People who make “investments” into key parts  of society (i.e. work, school) are less likely to  break the law  o They are more aware of costs/punishments  ∙ How is commitment measured? o GPA, educational goals  o Career plans   Involvement in conventional activities  ∙ “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” ∙ people who are too busy with conventional activities  don’t have time to engage in crime  o do you see any problems with this idea?∙ How is involvement measured? o How much time do you spend…  On sports teams   Taking music lessons   With your family  Belief in the moral order  ∙ Beliefs are similar to definitions  o Attitudes about the importance of conventional values and rules/laws ∙ Most people (even criminals) endorse prosocial  values, norms, and laws  o But, there is variation in the extent to which  people: believe they should follow the  rules/laws o Believe they should follow the rules/laws in all  situations ∙ How are beliefs measured? o How much do you believe that…  Its important to go to college  Its important to be honest with your  parents   Teachers should be respected   Laws should be obeyed  o Bond theory   Why would having a bond to others keep you from  committing crimes?  When might attachments or relationships be a bad thing  for the individuals?  How do bonds develop? o The social development strategy   The goal…healthy behavior…for all children and youth  Start with…healthy beliefs and clear standards…in families, schools, communities and peer groups   Build…bonding: attachment & commitment…to families,  schools, communities and peer groups   By providing…opportunities, skills, recognition o Social bond theory   What are its strengths? ∙ Good empirical support for most elements  ∙ Clear prevention implications   What are its weaknesses? ∙ Cannot explain the relationship between  delinquent/criminal role models and crime How would you use this theory to prevent crime from  occurring? ∙ Gottfredson and Hirschi: self control theory…or the general theory of  crime  o Self control is the most important cause of crime   Low self control predicts all types of crime and non-criminal problems   Self control predicts crime and other outcomes (substance  dependence, physical health) o Self control and impulsivity   What is low self control? ∙ Now-oriented, lacks persistence, adventuresome,  unskilled, self interested, pleasure-seeking, low  tolerance for frustration, high pain tolerance  ∙ Low self control is related to impulsivity  o Impulsive children are less successful and more likely to be criminal   Self control  ∙ Levels of self control are determined early on and are relatively stable over your life  o Self control is an individual characteristic   But, it is socially, not biologically,  determined  ∙ What causes low self control? o Poor parenting  ∙ What do parents need to do to establish children’s  self control? o Monitor the child’s behavior  o Recognize deviant behavior when it occurs  o Punish deviant behavior when it occurs  ∙ Why does low self control predict crime? o Most crime is easy and immediately gratifying  o People with low self control are “easily swayed  by the current benefits (of an action) and tend  to forget future costs” ∙ How is self control measured? o Simple tasks, impulsivity, self centered, risk  seeking, temper, physical activities  Feb 16 ∙ Social bond vs self control theories  o Similarities   Both agree that humans are prone to crime and need  external or internal constraints to stop our criminal  tendencies  Both believe the family is an important source of control  o Differences   Self control theory places the emphasis on the individual,  bonding theory on social relationships   To prevent crime, bonding theory suggests increasing  bonds; self control theory says you should increase self  control  Bonding theory says you can prevent crime all during life;  control theory says you must do so early in life or it’s too  late  ∙ Self control and crime prevention  o Do Gottfredson and Hirschi believe it is possible to prevent  crime?  No: rehabilitation doesn’t work and adults should not be  incapacitated   Yes: start early, teach parents how to monitor, recognize,  and respond to deviant behaviors of children  ∙ Provide interventions to increase self control  ∙ Decrease opportunities for crime  o Make It more difficult  ∙ Self control theory  o Social control theory has been very influential in criminology and  has empirical support   Parenting practices affect levels of self control   Low self control predicts crime in studies based on self  reports and official records of crime   Low self control predicts crime better than some other  influences   Low self control predicts other antisocial/deviant behaviors  ∙ Schreck 1999 o What is the goal of the study?  To study the relationship between low self control and  victimization (a non-criminal but problematic outcome) o Why would low self control increase victimization?   Those with low self control tend to have: ∙ A “here and now” orientation and failure to consider  the consequences of their actions  ∙ A lack of empathy for others  ∙ A low tolerance for frustration/ quick to become  angry  ∙ A lack of diligence, including taking safety  precautions  ∙ A preference for risk taking  ∙ Males have higher levels of victimization ∙ Victims have lower self control than non-victims  ∙ Self control theory  o What are the strengths?  Empirical evidence   Generality  o What are its flaws?  Self control is not always well measured or defined   Self control is not as stable over time as they state  Feb 21 social disorganization theories  ∙ Social disorganization theories o These theories recognize that crime rates vary by geography   Crime is higher in the south than in the west   Crime is higher in urban than in suburban areas  o Differences in crime rates have more to do with the places where people live than with the individuals who live there  o The theory views individuals as likely to break the law   Social controls are needed to stop people from offending  ∙ Community social controls are especially important  o Low community control= high crime  o High community control= low crime  o Crime rates can also vary within cities  o Think about a big city you know   What area has the most crime?  Where is the riskiest area?  Where would you go to buy drugs or a gun? o What does crime look like in Gainesvillle? ∙ Homicide rates in Chicago, 2015 o District 11: 48 homicides  o District 7: 38 homicides  o In segregated areas higher homicide ∙ Shaw and McKay: social disorganization theory  o Crime rates are higher in urban versus other areas  o Within cities, crime is concentrated in inner city neighborhoods  o Concentric zone model  o Structural problems (poverty, turnover, diversity) lead to social  disorganization, which leads to crime  o “Disorganized” communities have the highest rates of crime  o Social disorganization is:  “When the community ceases to function effectively as a  means of social control”  “The inability of residents to solve their own problems or  meet their own needs” o A neighborhood’s structural conditions lead to disorganization   Low socio-economic status (poverty) Ethnic heterogeneity (diversity)  High residential mobility (turnover) o Why/how would these factors cause disorganization? ∙ Social disorganization  o Disorganized communities have fewer social controls over  residents:  Residents don’t trust each other   Residents are unwilling to help each other out or informally control crime   Crime rates begin to increase   Law abiders move out, criminals move in  ∙ Fear of crime increases   Gangs and criminal subcultures develop   Conventional values, social controls and trust weaken even more  ∙ In summary  o Social disorganization theory states that crime is related to  geography   Places not individuals  o Where are crime rates highest?  Poverty, mobility, ethnic heterogeneity  o Crime rates are highest in cities/inner city neighborhood only because residents are poor   False  ∙ Collective efficacy theory  o The opposite of social disorganization is collective efficacy   “The ability of community members to trust each other and informally assist each other” o High collective efficacy reduces crime  o Why might structural problems (poverty, turnover, diversity)  make collective efficacy more difficult? o How is collective efficacy measured?  Informal social controls: ∙ How likely is it that one of your neighbors would do  something if: o Someone was breaking into your house  o Someone was trying to sell drugs to one of  your kids  o There was a fight in front of your house   Social cohesion/trust: ∙ How much do you agree that:o People around here are willing to help their  neighbors  o This is a close-knit neighborhood  o People in this neighborhood generally get along with each other  o People in this neighborhood share the same  values  ∙ Broken windows theory  o Wilson and Kelling (1982)  Focuses on how neighborhoods “look,” not their economic  or structural characteristics   Crime occurs in areas with physical and social disorder  o How might physical and social disorder be measured?  Commercial building security  ∙ Security bars gratings on building window   Alcohol/ tobacco advertising  ∙ Signs advertising tobacco products, or beer/other  alcohol   Presence of bars/liquor stores  ∙ Bars and alcoholic beverage services, liquor stores   Physical disorder  ∙ Cigarette cigar on sidewalk/gutters  ∙ Garbage/litter/condoms/syringes in street sidewalk  ∙ Graffiti  ∙ Abandoned cars   Social disorder  o The process   Neighborhoods with social disorder attract deviant  individuals (teenagers, drunks, prostitutes)  These groups being to take over   This sends the message that no one cares  Respectable people become afraid and move out   More serious crime occurs   When people are afraid, they avoid each other, which  further weakens control  Feb 23  ∙ Social disorganization  o For each theory, what causes crime?  Shaw and McKay: Social Disorganization theory   Sampson: Collective Efficacy theory   “Broken Windows” theory  o How would you prevent crime?∙ How would you reduce crime? o Shaw and McKay: Social Disorganization theory   Increase employment opportunities and income   Move people out of disorganized neighborhoods?  Increase residential stability  ∙ Offer incentives to attract “good” people to “bad”  areas  o Sampson: Collective Efficacy theory   Increase trust and cohesion between residents o “Broken Windows” theory   reduce physical and social disorder   increase police presence in “hot spots” ∙ hot spot policing  o What are hot spots   Crime clusters, or very small places which generate a  disproportionate amount of criminal events  ∙ A disproportionate amount of criminal events  o A study in Seattle showed that 5% of the city’s  street accounted for 50% of all crimes  o In Boston, 5% of streets had 74% of all serious  gun assaults  o What is the typical police response once hot spots are identified?  Systematic policing using…. ∙ Police crackdowns  o E.g., raids on crack houses ∙ Directed patrol ∙ Heightened traffic enforcement  o Does hot spots policing reduce crime?  Review Braga et al., 2008 ∙ Summarized outcomes from 9 evaluations examining hot spots policing in the US and Australia  ∙ 7 studies reported that areas in which hot spots  policing was used had less crime and fewer “calls for  service” by police  o none of the studies showed “displacement” of  crime to other areas  ∙ an updated review (in 2011) of 19 studies concluded  that this strategy is effective in reducing crime  o discussion   concerns have been raised that hot spots policing can  cause residents to feel unfairly targeted by police  ∙ do you think this concern has merit?∙ (How) can hot spots policing be implemented to  minimize concerns about police misconduct and  discrimination? o Strengths  Feb 28  Strain theory  ∙ Extra credit quiz  o Anomie refers to a state of normlessness and a lack of social  regulation  o Merton’s anomie/strain theory says that everyone wants to  achieve the American Dream, but some cannot because they are blocked from doing so  ∙ Strain (anomie) theories  o Common assumptions   People are law-abiding under “normal conditions” ∙ People commit crime when they feel a pressure or  strain to do so  ∙ Crime is a “normal response” to “abnormal  conditions” o Examples   You’re a single-mother, you just lost your  job and you’re about to be evicted from  your home   15 and 11-year-old sisters broke into a  locked room in their home, stole their  parents’ gun and shot and killed their 16- year-old brother. They suffered from  abuse and neglect from their parents and brothers.  Social class/income is an important influence on crime  ∙ Micro: an individual’s social class influences crime  o E.g.,: the poor will commit more crime than the rich  ∙ Macro: the national economy influences crime  o E.g.,: crime is higher in times of recession  o Merton: social structure and anomie  In the US, everyone has the same goal ($$$) and everyone  is expected to achieve it   But not everyone uses legitimate means (e.g., education,  hard work) to make money and be successful   Anomie makes illegitimate means (crime) likely to occur  ∙ Anomie is a state of normlessness∙ When society fails to regulate desires and control  individual’s behaviors  ∙ Success and wealth are prioritized above all else  ∙ We don’t always emphasize that legitimate means  (e.g., education, hard work) should be used to make  money  Some individuals have blocked opportunities that make it  difficult to legitimately make money  ∙ Discrimination, unemployment, etc.   The social structure limits the ability of some to use  legitimate means to achieve goals  ∙ This creates a strain on people must be overcome  ∙ This strain is felt most strongly by the lower class  Goals: good job, expensive car, nice house, fashionable  clothing, a new cell phone, an attractive gf/bf, many  friends   Means: ∙ legitimate means: hard work, education, deferred  gratification ∙ Illegitimate means: theft, force   Merton’s modes of adaption  ∙ People must adapt  o Innovators accept society’s goals, but reject  legitimate means of getting them  o Pursue goal ($$) through illegitimate means  ∙ Crime is the result   Strengths  ∙ Crime is related to a country’s economy  ∙ Explains why the lower class can be more involved in crime   Weaknesses  ∙ Some research does not show a strong relationship  between (personal) income and crime  ∙ Too much focus on property crimes  ∙ Can’t explain spontaneous crimes   Strain theory does not believe that people are inherently  criminal   Strain theory identifies income  o Rosenfeld and Messner: institutional anomie   Expands Merton’s marco-level theory ∙ Society causes crime   What is the main cause of crime in this theory? ∙ Institutional anomie ∙ The economy, especially its: emphasis on  achievement, individualism, universalism, monetary  success  Why is the American focus on economics and money making problematic? ∙ Other institutions become devalued  o School, family, politics  ∙ Other institutions have to accommodate the  economy  ∙ Economic norms penetrate and dominate all other  institutions  o Social institutions no longer keep each other in  check o Agnew’s general strain theory   Strain leads to anger/other emotions which leads to crime   Focuses on individual strains and reactions   Strainangercrime  Three major types of strain  ∙ Failure to achieve positively valued goals  o Similar to Merton’s strain theory  o E.g.,: being unemployed, poor, school failure  ∙ Los of positive stimuli  o E.g.,: death of a relative or close friend  ∙ Presentation of negative stimuli  o E.g.,: bullying, peer victimization, child abuse   How does strain lead to crime? ∙ Strains lead to negative emotions which lead to  crime  o Negative emotions must be present for crime  to occur; just having a strain is not enough  o Anxiety, guilt, or depression can lead to drug  use or abuse  o Anger most likely to produce crime, especially  violent and retaliatory crimes   When does strain lead to crime? ∙ What types of strains are most likely to lead to  crime? ∙ Those that: o Involve an important area of your life  o Are seen as unfair  o Are high in magnitude, duration, and frequency ∙ What types of people are most likely to react to  strains with anger and crime? o People with poor coping skills  What are positive/negative coping skills? o People with few social supports  o People with low self control  o Younger vs. older   Younger more likely to react poorly to  strain because have lower self control  and coping skills  o Males vs. females  March 2 ∙ Gender and strain theory  o GST can help explain gender differences in crime:  Males are more likely to experience the types of  strain that lead to crime: e.g., peer conflict,  victimization, and financial strain   Males are more likely to react to strain with anger  ∙ Females are more likely to react to strain with  depression/anxiety OR with better coping  strategies o Female   More likely to respond to depression and anger   anger is accompanied by fear, guilt, and shame   more likely to blame themselves and worry about the effects of their anger   depression and guilt may lead to self-destructive  behavior  o male   more likely to respond with anger   anger is followed by moral outrage   quick to blame others and are less concerned about  hurting others   moral outrage may lead to property and violent  crime  ∙ Ford and Schroeder, 2008 academic strains and drug use o Goal of the study: to apply general train theory to explain  college students’ nonmedical use of prescription drugs   Tested with 11,215 students at 119 colleges o They focus on academic strains faced by college students   How important is academic work?  What is your GPA? o Academic strains and drug use   Did strain increase nonmedical stimulant use?  ∙ Strain increased depression  ∙ Depression increased stimulant use ∙ Straindepressionstimulant use   Were the results consistent with GST? ∙ General strain theory  o Does evidence support this theory?  Various strains have been linked to crime  ∙ Victimization  ∙ Negative life events   Mixed evidence about whether or not: ∙ Strain increased negative emotions  ∙ Emotions are linked to crime  ∙ Gender differences in these processes  o GST: summary   Strengths  ∙ Looks at more than just income/social class  ∙ Can explain violent and property crimes   Weaknesses  ∙ Hard to test if strain causes anger or  depression  ∙ Not very parsimonious  Review  ∙ Which types of strain does Merton focus on? o Financial strain  ∙ According to Agnew, not having as much respect and status as you  want is an example of which type of strain? o Failure to achieve goals ∙ Strains are most likely to lead to crime when: o They cause negative emotions  ∙ Which strains would produce crime? o You’re a teenaged boy who lives in a low-income neighborhood  and regularly witnesses violence, drug deals, and prostitution o Experiencing an earthquake and a hurricane in the same week  o You are a low-income student working towards a PhD o You’re 45 years old and have suffered numerous health problems for the last ten years  ∙ Crime prevention  o How can crime among individuals be prevented?  Reduce strains  ∙ Increase economic opportunities (create jobs) ∙ Enhance academic performance: e.g., tutoring  ∙ Reduce victimization  o Parenting programs to reduce child  maltreatment  o Bullying prevention programs  Change reactions to strains  ∙ Provide victims with therapy  ∙ Improve social/coping skills of all individuals

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