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... Despite a growing literature on the relationships between self-control measurements Coskunpinar 2011, 2012;Duckworth and Kern 2011;Meldrum et al. 2013;Sharma et al. 2014) and their implications for predicting risk of offending, studies have not yet examined whether a particular measurement strategy is a better predictor of recidivism among a sample of adjudicated, first-time offenders. Studying the predictive utility of these measurement strategies using first-time offenders is of critical practical importance because adolescents who come into contact with the juvenile justice system are at a greater risk of reoffending, of getting rearrested, and of returning to court (Holman and Zeidenberg 2006;Liberman et al. 2014;Snyder and Sickmund 2006). ...
... This study contributes to that developmental literature through indicating that adjudicated adolescent offenders with comparably lower self-control may also be at increased risk of re-engaging in delinquency. Considering the substantial debate about proper assessment strategy (de Ridder et al. 2012;Duckworth and Kern 2011;Meldrum et al. 2013) and the growing developmental literature that finds that assessment strategies detect distinct aspects of the self-control construct (Cyders and Coskunpinar 2012;Sharma et al. 2014), this study (a) contributes to our understanding of interrelations between self-control constructs during adolescence, and (b) indicates the importance of carefully selecting the proper self-control assessment strategy. Perhaps the most important finding from this study is that, although these two widely used selfcontrol assessment strategies detect distinct components of the self-control construct, they do not predict youth reoffending equally. ...
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Although low self-control is consistently related to adolescent offending, it is unknown whether self-report measures or laboratory behavior tasks yield better predictive utility, or if a combination yields incremental predictive power. This is particularly important because developmental theory indicates that self-control is related to adolescent offending and, consequently, risk assessments rely on self-control measures. The present study (a) examines relationships between self-reported self-control on the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory with Go/No-Go response inhibition, and (b) compares the predictive utility of both assessment strategies for short- and long-term adolescent reoffending. It uses longitudinal data from the Crossroads Study of male, first-time adolescent offenders ages 13–17 (N = 930; 46 % Hispanic/Latino, 37 % Black/African-American, 15 % non-Hispanic White, 2 % other race). The results of the study indicate that the measures are largely unrelated, and that the self-report measure is a better indicator of both short- and long-term reoffending. The laboratory task measure does not add value to what is already predicted by the self-report measure. Implications for assessing self-control during adolescence and consequences of assessment strategy are discussed.
... Two of the more rigorous tests of the stability of self-control are based on other-reported (mother and teacher) measures of self-control (e.g., Hay and Forrest, 2006;Na and Paternoster, 2012). Although each has strengths and weaknesses (see Meldrum et al., 2013), other reports of self-control may paint a very different portrait of stability than self-reported measures, given the reality that adolescents and young adults spend increasing time unsupervised and away from their homes and outside of school. Mothers may be unaware of youths' changes (or the magnitude of changes) in self-control during the adolescent years, and therefore, tests of stability with otherreported measures might be biased toward stability. ...
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This study assesses self-control theory’s (Gottfredson & Hirschi 1990) stability postulate. We advance research on self-control stability in three ways. First, we extend the study of stability beyond high school, estimating group-based trajectory models (GBTM) of self-reports of self-control from age 10 to 25. Second, drawing in part on advances in developmental psychology and social neuroscience, especially the dual systems model of risk taking (e.g., Steinberg 2008), we investigate whether two distinct personality traits—impulsivity and sensation seeking—often conflated in measures of self-control, exhibit divergent developmental patterns. Finding that they do, we also estimate multitrajectory models to identify latent classes of co-occurring developmental patterns for these two traits. We supplement GBTM stability analyses with hierarchical linear models and reliable variance estimates. Lastly, using fixed effects models, we explore whether the observed within-individual changes in the global self-control measure as well as impulsivity and sensation seeking are associated with within-individual changes in crime net of overall age trends. We examine these ideas using five waves of data from a sample of several hundred African American adolescents from the Family and Community Health Study (FACHS). Results suggest that self-control is unstable, that distinct patterns of development exist for impulsivity and sensation seeking, and that these changes are uniquely consequential for crime. We conclude by comparing our findings to extant research and discussing the implications for self-control theory.
... Low self-control A vibrant dialog exists regarding the measurement of low self-control within the criminological literature (Grasmick, Tittle, Bursik, & Arneklev, 1993;Piquero, 2008;Piquero, MacIntosh, & Hickman, 2000), including studies that examine whether behavioral and attitudinal measures operate in a similar manner in predictive models (Pratt & Cullen, 2000;Tittle, Ward, & Grasmick, 2003), how the source of the information on low self-control impacts findings (Meldrum, Young, Burt, & Piquero, 2013), and whether or not low self-control is uni-dimensional (Longshore, Rand, & Stein, 1996;Piquero & Rosay, 1998). For the current study, the measure of low self-control consists of attitudinal self-report items from the Grasmick et al. (1993) low self-control scale. ...
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... Historically, self-control has often been used as a general theory to explain individual differences in criminality [43]. Studies have demonstrated the link between low self-control and delinquency [44], imprudent behaviors [45,46], and more recently, smartphone addiction [47]. As smartphones have special characteristics of immediacy and portability, they are available anytime and anywhere; thus, self-control has been identified as the important feature required for controlling smartphone addiction in adolescents [48]. ...
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Background Many studies have examined the negative impact on smartphone addiction in adolescents. Recent concerns have focused on predictors of smartphone addiction. This study aimed to investigate the association of adolescents’ smartphone addiction with family environment (specifically, domestic violence and parental addiction). We further investigated whether self-control and friendship quality, as predictors of smartphone addiction, may reduce the observed risk. Methods We used the 2013 national survey on internet usage and utilization data from the National Information Agency of Korea. Information on exposure and covariates included self-reported experience of domestic violence and parental addiction, sociodemographic variables, and other variables potentially related to smartphone addiction. Smartphone addiction was estimated using a smartphone addiction proneness scale, a standardized measure developed by national institutions in Korea. Results Adolescents who had experienced domestic violence (OR = 1.74; 95% CI: 1.23–2.45) and parental addiction (OR = 2.01; 95% CI: 1.24–3.27) were found to be at an increased risk for smartphone addiction after controlling for all potential variables. Furthermore, on classifying adolescents according to their level of self-control and friendship quality the association between domestic violence and parental addiction, and smartphone addiction was found to be significant in the group with adolescents with lower levels of self-control (OR = 2.87; 95% CI: 1.68–4.90 and OR = 1.95; 95% CI: 1.34–2.83) and friendship quality (OR = 2.33; 95% CI: 1.41–3.85 and OR = 1.83; 95% CI: 1.26–2.64). Conclusion Our findings suggest that family dysfunction was significantly associated with smartphone addiction. We also observed that self-control and friendship quality act as protective factors against adolescents’ smartphone addiction.
... It is recommended that future studies should utilize multiple informants to improve reliability and predictive validity of a construct by minimizing method variances and informant biases. For example, extant research has found that maternal reports of self-control are more weakly related to delinquency than using adolescent reports of self-control (Meldrum, Young, Burt, & Piquero, 2013). In addition, longitudinal data are crucial for systematic examination of bidirectional influences between self-regulation and relationship context in adolescence. ...
Article
Self-regulation plays an important role in adolescent development, predicting success in multiple domains including school and social relationships. While researchers have paid increasing attention to the influence of parents on the development of adolescent self-regulation, we know little about the influence of peers and friends and even less about the influence of romantic partners on adolescent development of self-regulation. Extant studies examined a unidirectional model of self-regulation development rather than a bidirectional model of self-regulation development. Given that relationships and self-regulation develop in tandem, a model of bidirectional development between relationship context and adolescent self-regulation may be relevant. This review summarizes extant literature and proposes that in order to understand how adolescent behavioral and emotional self-regulation develops in the context of social relationships one must consider that each relationship builds upon previous relationships and that self-regulation and relationship context develop bidirectionally.
... It is broadly organized into internalizing and externalizing symptoms that relate to a range of childhood problems and clinical diagnoses [55]. Numerous studies have employed items from the CBCL to measure self-control or self-regulation [4,10,12,58,59,73,85,87]. These studies have typically constructed a unidimensional measure of self-control with scale reliabilities ranging from 0.66 [10] to 0.91 [4]. ...
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Purpose: This study’s goal was to examine academic and behavioral paths to obtaining a high school diploma. Methods: Data were drawn from a gender-balanced, ethnically diverse longitudinal sample of 808 youth from 18 Seattle public elementary schools serving high crime neighborhoods. Structural equation modeling was used to simultaneously estimate longitudinal academic and behavioral paths to a high school diploma. Results: Results showed support for an academic path whereby higher academic performance in middle school predicted higher academic performance in high school which, in turn, increased the likelihood of obtaining a high school diploma. Results also supported a unique behavioral path whereby poor self-regulation during middle school predicted increased antisocial behavior in high school which, in turn, reduced the likelihood of obtaining a high school diploma. A third path emerged showing that higher family socioeconomic resources directly increased the likelihood of obtaining a high school diploma after accounting for academic performance, poor self-regulation, antisocial behavior, poor family functioning, and school prosocial development. Mediation analyses showed that high school antisocial behavior was a mechanism connecting middle school self-regulation and obtaining a high school diploma. Conclusions: Results suggest that poor self-regulation is linked to academic attainment through its connection with antisocial behavior. Interventions seeking to improve rates of high school graduation and reduce antisocial behavior may enhance their impact by focusing on self-regulation in conjunction with supporting academic success and family socioeconomics.
... The measure of low self-control consists of five behavioral indicators drawn from survey items answered by mothers of the study adolescents at both Grade 6 and age 15. These items come from the Child Behavior Checklist (Achenbach, 1991), which is the basis for measures of low self-control appearing in several studies (e.g., Chapple, 2005;Hay & Forrest, 2006;Meldrum, Young, Burt, & Piquero, 2013). Mothers were asked to respond to various statements by indicating whether it was "not true" (0), "somewhat true" (1), or "very" or "often" true (2) of their child. ...
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Warr (2016) recently proposed that remorselessness may offer a useful explanation for understanding persistence and desistance from criminal offending. While early empirical evidence supports this framework, not only is replication needed but there is also a need to consider potential determinants of remorselessness. Using data from the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, we examine the extent to which remorselessness relates to self-reported violence and aggression as well as several potential correlates of remorselessness. Our findings show that remorselessness during adolescence is associated with a higher likelihood of both self-reported violence and aggression even after controlling for self-control, peer violence, parenting, prior violence, and several other covariates. We also find that males and persons who associate with violent peers are more likely to evince higher remorselessness, while individuals exposed to higher quality parenting evince lower remorselessness. Implications of our findings are discussed.
... Youth and adults low in self-control tend to engage in behavior that, while pleasurable in the short-term, carries potential long-term costs to themselves and others. Recent meta-analysis of research on self-control suggest that it is a robust, individual-level predictor of a wide variety of risky behaviors (Duckworth & Kern, 2011;Meldrum, Young, Burt, & Piquero, 2013;Piquero & Rosay, 1998;Pratt & Cullen, 2000). In fact, studies have shown that programs aimed at improving children's self-control effectively reduce delinquency and problem behaviors (for a systematic review see Piquero et al., 2010). ...
Article
Purpose Grounding our work within the larger gender and self-control literature, the purpose of this paper is three-fold: to examine the relative effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on self-control for boys and girls, whether gender differences in self-control can be explained by exposure to ACEs, and the extent to which ACEs differentially influence empathy and impulsivity for boys and girls, two components of self-control with notable gender differences. Methods Using data from the Fragile Families and Childhood Wellbeing Study, we examine our three questions using stepwise, ordinary least squares (OLS) regression and generalized linear models (GLM) to explain the relationship between ACEs and gender differences in self-control. Results We found that as ACEs increased, self-control declined for boys and girls. Higher numbers of ACEs were associated with increased impulsivity for boys but, ACEs were not significantly related to empathy for either boys or girls. Conclusions We found that ACEs significantly impaired the development of self-control for boys and girls. We also found that the relationship between ACEs and impulsivity was only significant for boys. As such, delinquency prevention and intervention efforts should screen for ACEs, their relationship to deficits in self-control and, in particular, should address the significant connection between ACEs and boys' impulsivity. Finally, self-control development programs should focus on addressing past, childhood trauma for boys and girls.
... Finally, related to the method of assessment, it relied exclusively on adolescent self-reports, and although challenging to address, future work might also incorporate additional sources of data to eliminate potential method variance. It is also important to note that previous work has shown how different data sources impact the observed relationships between self-control and deviance, for instance (e.g., Boman & Gibson, 2011;Meldrum, Young, Burt, & Piquero, 2013). ...
Article
Purpose: The conceptualization and measurement of self-control remains a debated topic, in criminology as well as other social and behavioral sciences. The current study compared the relationships between the Grasmick and colleagues (1993) self-control scale and the redefined self-control measure by Hirschi (2004) on measures of deviance in samples of adolescents. Methods: Anonymous, self-report data were collected from over N = 16,000 middle and late adolescents in China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States. Results: Based on latent constructs with items parcels in an SEM framework, multi-group tests were used to examine both the relative predictive utility of each self-control measure on deviance and the extent to which these relationships varied across cultures. Both scales appear to tap into self-control; however, findings provide evidence that the Grasmick et al. measure explains more variance. These links did not vary across cultural contexts. Conclusions: Hirschi provocatively suggested that the truth is the daughter of time; yet, we find that the measure developed by Grasmick and colleagues, the most widely used scale, retains greater explanatory power, and does so in an invariant manner across all eleven developmental contexts examined.
... Those with the most individual-level risk factors and deficits tend to be the more serious offenders (Jennings and Reingle, 2012;Vaughn et al., 2011). These antisocial traits include risk-taking/risk-seeking/sensation-seeking (Mitchell, Tafrate, Hogan, and Olver, 2013;Shook, Vaughn, and Salas-Wright, 2013;Vaske, Ward, Boisvert, and Wright, 2012;Vaughn, DeLisi, Beaver, Perron, and Abdon, 2012), impulsivity (Carson, 2013), hyperactivity (Defoe, Farrington, and Loeber, 2013;Theobald, Farrington, and Piquero, 2013), low self-control (Jackson and Beaver, 2013;Meldrum, Young, Burt, and Piquero, 2013;Taylor, Hiller, and Taylor, 2013), negative emotionality (Sharp, Peck, & Hartsfield, 2012), low intelligence (Morris, Carriaga, Diamond, Piquero, & Piquero, 2012), and various neurocognitive deficits and neurobehavioral disorders (DeLisi, Neppl, Lohman, Vaughn, and Shook, 2013;Walters and DeLisi, 2013). Many individual-level features separate street from decent people regardless of their neighborhood context and subcultural affiliation. ...
Article
Background: Adolescent electronic (e-)cigarette use intentions are related to initiation. Low self-control is also a risk factor for early stages of substance use. Yet, the impact of low self-control on use through intentions may vary across individuals; depression and anxiety may affect this association. Methods: A sample of 200 adolescents who completed waves 1 and 2 of an ongoing longitudinal study were assessed. We hypothesized that high internalizing symptoms would moderate the indirect effect of low self-control on actual e-cigarette use through e-cigarette use intentions. Results: The mediation pathway was significant at high levels of internalizing symptoms, but not at low or moderate levels. Conclusion: Specifically, those with low self-control and high internalizing symptomatology endorsed the highest e-cigarette use intentions and were more likely to subsequently use e-cigarettes. Youth low in self-control and high in depression and anxiety might be at increased risk to initiate e-cigarette use compared to youth high in self-control and high in internalizing symptomatology.
Article
The aim of this study was to determine whether two risk factors that are frequently selected as targets for prevention and intervention purposes-involvement with deviant peers and parent-adolescent relationship quality-are associated with delinquent behavior in the same way in a juvenile general population sample (n = 88) as in a juvenile offender sample (n = 85). Information on delinquency and the quality of parent-adolescent relationship was obtained from adolescents and parents. The results of path analyses showed that relations between poor parent-adolescent relationship quality, involvement with deviant peers, and delinquency depended on whose point of view is used (adolescent or parent) and which sample issused (general population or delinquent sample). These findings indicate that caution is warranted when theories based on research with community samples are used for development of intervention programs for juvenile delinquents.
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The stability of self-control represents a recently popular empirical topic; however, little attention has been paid to the stability of the underlying constructs of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s conception of self-control. The present study uses longitudinal data on youth residing in the northeastern United States and employs trajectory analysis to explore the presence of varying developmental trends in these constructs. The findings indicate that these constructs follow unique and varied trajectories that may help to elucidate issues with our understanding of the stability of self-control.
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Theoretical propositions and empirical tests of Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory continue to permeate the criminological literature. Nevertheless, the vast majority of studies have been conducted in North America and some European countries. Only a handful of empirical works have been conducted in East Asia. To further test the generality assertion of Gottfredson and Hirschi, the current study examines low self-control's efficacy in predicting the involvement of South Korean adolescents in typical delinquency, drinking, smoking, Internet addiction, and smartphone addiction. The presented findings largely support the generality hypothesis, although the theorists' assertion seems to be somewhat overstated. © The Author(s) 2015.
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Purpose Extensive prior research has documented the relationship between self-control and deviance, albeit almost exclusively at the individual level. In fact, only two recent examinations of self-control and adverse outcomes (including deviance) exist at the macro-level. Methods In order to extend prior research, this study relies on data from all counties in the state of Texas with a population of over 10,000 residents to provide a county-level analysis of the ability of macro-level self-control to predict three outcomes: violent crime, property crime, and unemployment rates. Results Exploratory factor analyses supported the existence of two macro-level dimensions of self-control, e.g., initiatory and inhibitory self-control. Subsequent correlational and predictive regression analyses provided evidence of the linkages between these macro-level indicators of self-control and a number of adverse outcomes. Conclusions The findings highlight the importance of continued inquiry into macro-level indicators of self-control and the role of macro-level manifestations of self-control in policy and prevention initiatives to promote crime prevention and prevent adult adjustment problems such as unemployment.
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The objective of this study is to examine the relationships between self-control, parental crime, and use of discipline across three generations. Data spanning 30 years from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, are analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling. This study focuses on whether different types of discipline used by parents predict the self-control of each successive generation. We also examine whether self-control and criminal activities of parents are predictive of parenting and resulting self-control of children. We find that discipline has a weak relationship to self-control but that parental crime and self-control do relate to the self-control of later generations.
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Self-control plays a significant role in positive youth development. Although numerous self-control challenges occur during adolescence, some adolescents control themselves better than others. Parenting is considered a critical factor that distinguishes adolescents with good self-control from those with poor self-control, but existing findings are inconsistent. This meta-analysis summarizes the overall relationship between parenting and self-control among adolescents aged 10 to 22 years. The analysis includes 191 articles reporting 1,540 effect sizes (N = 164,459). The results show that parenting is associated with adolescents’ self-control both concurrently (r = .204, p < .001) and longitudinally (r = .157, p < .001). Longitudinal studies also reveal that adolescents’ self-control influences subsequent parenting (r = .155, p < .001). Moderator analyses show that the effect sizes are largely invariant across cultures, ethnicities, age of adolescents, and parent and youth gender. Our results point to the importance of parenting in individual differences in adolescent self-control and vice versa.
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Structural equation modeling is a well-known technique for studying relationships among multivariate data. In practice, high dimensional nonnormal data with small to medium sample sizes are very common, and large sample theory, on which almost all modeling statistics are based, cannot be invoked for model evaluation with test statistics. The most natural method for nonnormal data, the asymptotically distribution free procedure, is not defined when the sample size is less than the number of nonduplicated elements in the sample covariance. Since normal theory maximum likelihood estimation remains defined for intermediate to small sample size, it may be invoked but with the probable consequence of distorted performance in model evaluation. This article studies the small sample behavior of several test statistics that are based on maximum likelihood estimator, but are designed to perform better with nonnormal data. We aim to identify statistics that work reasonably well for a range of small sample sizes and distribution conditions. Monte Carlo results indicate that Yuan and Bentler's recently proposed F-statistic performs satisfactorily.
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The importance of the relation between impulsivity and deviance is well-acknowledged among criminologists. However, differences in the representations of impulsivity, some merely titular and others substantive, may cloud our understanding of these relations. The current study examines the argument, offered by Whiteside and Lynam Pers. Individuals Diff. (2000) 30: 669–689, that there may be four distinct personality pathways through which impulsive behavior may be manifested. Across three samples (two undergraduate, one community), we examine the validity of a four-factor structure of impulsivity, test whether these four pathways manifest divergent relations with various forms of deviant behavior such as crime and substance use, as well as laboratory manifestations of aggressive and impulsive behavior, and examine the invariance of these results across gender. The results support the existence of a four-factor model of impulsivity, the importance of two specific personality pathways in relation to self-reports of deviance (lack of premeditation and sensation seeking), as well as actual behavior, and suggest that these pathways are important for both men and women.
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This study examined the effects of neighborhood structural and social characteristics on offending among girls and boys aged 8–17 residing in 80 Chicago neighborhoods. The results demonstrated gender differences in contextual effects, although not in ways predicted by social disorganization theory. Collective efficacy and concentrated disadvantage were not significantly associated with self-reported offending among males. Among females, collective efficacy was related to higher rates of general delinquency and violence, while disadvantage reduced the likelihood of self-reported violence. These outcomes suggest that neighborhoods may impact individual offending in complex ways and highlight the importance of considering gender when researching contextual effects on youth offending.
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Objectives The purpose of this study is twofold. First, this study assesses the extent to which self-control and maternal attachment mutually influence one another. Second, it investigates whether this process continues to occur during adolescence. To date, studies of the etiology of self-control have yet to adequately address these issues, despite the fact that a number of theoretical perspectives emphasize the reciprocal nature of the parent-child relationship. Methods The current study seeks to shed light on these issues by examining the relationship between self-control and maternal attachment using structural equation modeling for eight waves of data spanning a period of time that encompasses early childhood through middle adolescence. Results The results yield two findings bearing on the adequacy of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s model of self-control development. First, measures of self-control and maternal attachment were found to mutually influence one another during childhood. Second, these effects were reduced to nonsignificance during adolescence. Conclusions This study finds that self-control emerges during childhood in a complex manner in which it both shapes and is shaped by parental attachment.
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Prior research examining the effect of self-control and delinquent peers on crime suggests that both variables are strong correlates and that controlling for one fails to eliminate the effects of the other. Yet prior research was based on indirect and possibly biased indicators of peer delinquency. Recent research using direct measures of delinquent peers, as reported by respondents' peers themselves, indicates that the relationship between peer delinquency and self-reported delinquency is smaller than when respondents report on their peers' behavior. The present study extends this line of work by examining the effect of self-control on delinquency when controlling for these two measures of delinquent peers. The results indicate that the effect of self-control is greater in magnitude in models using the direct measure of peer delinquency relative to models that rely on the traditional measure of delinquent peers. An interaction between self-control and the direct measure of peer delinquency was also found. Implications for future theory testing are discussed.
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A core proposition of Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory of crime is that ineffective parenting fosters low self-control in children, which leads to delinquent conduct. Using a sample of 2,472 students, we examined the impact of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on self-control and delinquency. The analysis revealed three main findings. First, low self-control was a strong predictor of both self-reported delinquency and self-reported arrests. Second, parental monitoring not only increased self-control, but had direct effects on both measures of delinquency. Third, the effects of ADHD on delinquency were largely through low self-control.
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Several empirical studies have attempted to estimate the effect of low self-control on criminal and "analogous" behaviors. Most of these studies have shown that low self- control is an important feature of the cause(s) of crime. Although research is begin- ning to emerge that targets more specifically the "roots" of self-control via parental socialization (the most salient factor in the development of self-control according to Hirschi and Gottfredson), researchers have yet to explore the degree to which the structural characteristics of communities may influence patterns of parental social- ization and, in turn, individual levels of self-control. To address this question, the authors employ longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to examine community-level influences on parental socialization and self- control. The results indicate (1) self-control was predicted both cross-sectionally and longitudinally by both parental socialization and adverse neighborhood conditions, (2) the total effect of adverse neighborhood conditions on children's levels of self- control was just as strong as the total effect for indicators of parental socialization, and (3) important race differences did emerge, particularly with regard to the inter- relationships between our neighborhood-level measures and parental socialization.
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Much empirical support of self-control theory is based on the 24-item scale conceptualized by Grasmick and his colleagues. This study examined the dimensionality of the scale. Exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analyses, and a structural equation model (SEM) produced results that are discordant with much prior research. The Grasmick et al. scale was not unidimensional, more complex theoretical iterations failed to meet most goodness-of-fit statistics, and considerable refinement via modification indices was needed before a measurement model that fit the data could be found. Further refinement is required to justify it as the quintessential measure of self-control.
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Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) A General Theory of Crime has sparked a great deal of theoretical debate and empirical investigation. Tests of the theory have focused on measuring the core element, the latent trait of self-control. The majority of this research has used the 24-item scale developed by Grasmick et al. (1993), and a great deal of attention has been directed at the validity of this scale. Empirical debate revolves around the unidimensionality of the scale as established using conventional factor analytic techniques [exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA)]. In this paper, we provide the first application of an item response theory (IRT) Rasch model to the validation of the Grasmick et al. scale. IRT models focus on the interaction between the human subject and survey items, and the extent to which cumulative scales fail to provide fundamental measurement. Our results suggest that although conventional factor analyses yield results similar to those previously reported, IRT analysis reveals that one's level of self-control influences self-report responses, a finding consistent with Hirschi and Gottfredson.
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This study investigates two core propositions of Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) general theory of crime. Using longitudinal data collected on approximately 750 African American children and their primary caregivers, we first examine whether self-control fully mediates the effect of parenting on delinquency. Consistent with the general theory, we find that low self-control is positively associated with involvement in delinquency. Counter to Gottfredson and Hirschi's proposition, we find that self-control only partially attenuates the negative effect of parental efficacy on delinquency. Next, we assess the theory's hypothesis that between-individual levels of self-control are stable. Finding substantial instability in self-control across the two waves, we explore whether social factors can explicate these changes in self-control. The four social relationships we incorporate (improvements in parenting, attachment to teachers, association with pro-social peers, and association with deviant peers) explain a substantial portion of the changes in self-control. We then discuss the implications of these findings for the general theory of crime.
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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.
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The current investigation examined the psychometric properties of Grasmick et al.'s self-control measure and its relationship with deviance on large, representative adolescent samples ( N = 8,417) from Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States. Important findings indicate that (1) the self-control measure is multidimensional; (2) the self-control measure is tenable for males, females, five different age groups (15-, 16-, 17-, 18-, and 19-year-olds), and adolescents from four different countries; (3) deviance as assessed by the Normative Deviance Scale (NDS) can be reliably measured in different countries; (4) self-control accounts for 10 to 16 percent of the total variance explained in different types of deviance and for 20 percent in total deviance; and (5) developmental processes involving self-control and deviance are largely invariant by national context. The investigation provides further support for the multidimensional self-control measure and its relationship with deviance independent of national context.
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Researchers investigating Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory of Crime primarily concentrated their efforts on the relationship between an individual's self-control and involvement in crime and/or analogous behaviors. Much less research examined the potential sources of an individual's self-control. In this study, an argument was developed for the importance of exploring the contribution of the school context in the development of self-control within individuals. In particular, Gottfredson and Hirschi's position on this front was theoretically elaborated by including school/teacher socialization practices in a larger model of the development of self-control. Using data extracted from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, it was found that the effects of school socialization on self-control were significant net of parental socialization. In addition, the effects of school socialization varied across parenting and neighborhood contexts. The theoretical implications of this research, specifically as they relate to the development of self-control, are discussed.
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While prior research testing Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) theory of low self-control had demonstrated a significant relationship between parenting and self-control, it had also recognized significant effects of other social factors, suggesting the etiology of self-control may be more complex than the theory specifies. In an effort to better understand this process, the current study examined first whether social factors other than parenting predicted self-control using both contemporaneous and lagged effects models, and second, whether the effect of parenting on self-control varied according to these social factors. Findings offered partial support for self-control theory. In implicit support of the theory, this study found that the effect of parenting on self-control was not conditioned by the competing social factors examined. Contrary to the theory, however, was the finding that self-control was predicted by both peer pressure and school social factors contemporaneously, even after controlling for parental monitoring.
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The primary goals of this study were to test the long‐term stability thesis of Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) general theory of crime and to examine the relationship between self‐control and social control over time. The data come from a field experiment where the “treatment” consisted of an intentional effort to improve the childrearing behaviors of a sample of caregivers whose children were at high risk of criminal behavior. Caregivers in the control condition were given no such training. The intervention occurred when all subjects were in the first grade (mean age: 6.2 years old), and we have measurements on self‐control and the social control/bond for each subject from grades 6 to 11 (mean ages: 12 to 17 years old). Both a hierarchical linear model and a second‐order latent growth model identified meaningful differences in the growth pattern of self‐control among individuals in the pooled sample and a difference in the growth parameters for self‐control and the social control/bond over time between the treatment and control groups. Both findings are inconsistent with Gottfredson and Hirschi's stability of self‐control hypothesis. The same patterns persisted when different analytic techniques and model specifications were applied, which suggests that the results are not an artifact of measurement error, model specification, or statistical methods. Structural equation modeling using the panel design of the data was better able to disentangle the long‐term relationship between self‐ and social control—a relationship that was found to be more dynamic than previously hypothesized.
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Using data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN), the current study investigates the empirical validity of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s propositions linking gender, self-control, and offending behaviors across a large and diverse sample of Latino youth. According to their theory, differences in self-control- that are influenced by differences in parenting practices—should account for differential offending across race/ethnicity and gender. Consistent with their theory, results found males to have lower self-control and greater involvement in self-reported violent and property offending compared to females. Furthermore, Latino youth with lower self-control were more likely to report violent and property offending; however, the gender gap observed for property and violent offending was not accounted for by low self-control or parenting. In fact, none of the parenting measures (warmth, hostility, monitoring) differed for males and females and they were not found to influence involvement in offending for males or females. Low self-control predicted violent offending for males and females separately, but it predicted property offending only for males. In addition to mentioning limitations and future research, findings are discussed as they relate to theory and prior research on self-control.
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In A General Theory of Crime, Gottfredson and Hirschi propose that low self-control, in interaction with criminal opportunity, is the major cause of crime. The research reported in this article attempts to test this argument while closely following the nominal definitions presented by Gottfredson and Hirschi. A factor analysis of items designed to measure low self-control is consistent with their contention that the trait is unidimensional. Further, the proposed interaction effect is found for self-reported acts of both fraud and force (their definition of crime). Inconsistent with the theory are (a) the finding that criminal opportunity has a significant main effect, beyond its interaction with low self-control, on self-reported crime and (b) the substantial proportion of variance in crime left unexplained by the theoretical variables. Suggestions are offered for modifying and expanding the theory.
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Research on self-control theory consistently supports its central prediction that low self-control significantly affects crime. The theory includes other predictions, however, that have received far less scrutiny. Among these is the argument that self-control is developed early in childhood and that individual differences emerging then persist over time. The purpose of this study is to provide a rigorous test of the stability thesis. First, we examine the extent of stability and change in self-control for a national sample of U.S. children age 7 to age 15. Second, we consider whether parenting continues to affect self-control during adolescence—a period after the point at which self-control differences should be fixed. The analysis revealed strong absolute and relative stability of self-control for more than 80 percent of the sample, and this stability emerged in large part as early as age 7. Contradicting the theory was a smaller portion of respondents (roughly 16 percent) who experienced substantial absolute and relative changes in self-control even after the age of 10. Moreover, parental socialization continued to affect self-control during adolescence, even after accounting for both prior self-control and exposure to parental socialization.
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Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime has generated an impressive array of theoretical and empirical research. One particular area of research has concerned the definition and operationalization of self‐control. Recently, Hirschi has redefined self‐control as the tendency to consider the full range of potential costs of a particular act, and suggests that such inhibiting factors vary in both number and salience in how they relate to criminal activity. This study reports the results of an original data collection effort designed to measure Hirschi’s redefined and reconceptualized self‐control concept and compares its predictive ability to the most commonly used attitudinal measure of self‐control. Results suggest that Hirschi’s redefined self‐control concept, and our measurement of it, is significantly and negatively associated with two types of criminal acts, and it eliminates the direct effect of a commonly used attitudinal measure of self‐control. As a point of theoretical extension, we offer that self‐control should be considered in a situational manner. Future theoretical and empirical directions are outlined.
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According to Gottfredson and Hirschi (Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. [199021. Gottfredson MR Hirschi T (1990) A general theory of crime Stanford Stanford University Press View all references]. A general theory of crime. Stanford: Stanford University Press), individuals with low self‐control are likely to have unstable personal relationships and select into similar peer groups. Although a great deal is known about the effect of peers on delinquency, and research indicates that low self‐control is associated with poorer personal bonds in adults, the relationship between self‐control, peer relations, and adolescent delinquency is less well known. Developmental research suggests that impulsive children are more likely to be rejected by their peers and may have few conventional peer choices. This research investigates the process through which self‐control influences peer relations and delinquency. Significant direct effects of self‐control on peer rejection, association with deviant peers and delinquency were found, while self‐control remained a significant predictor of delinquency net of association with deviant peers. Implications for the general theory of crime, peer relations, and causes of delinquency are discussed.
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A body of research has revealed that low self-control is one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of antisocial behaviors. As a result, there is great interest in identifying the factors that cause variation in levels of self-control. Much of this work has centered on identifying the effects that social factors, such as parental socialization, have on self-control. More recently, however, there has been research revealing that levels of self-control are scripted by genetic factors as well as environmental factors. The current study examines whether a polymorphism (5HTTLPR) in the serotonin transporter gene and exposure to delinquent peers are associated with levels of self-control. Analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health indicates that the 5HTTLPR polymorphism interacted with a measure of delinquent peer affiliation to predict variation in self-control during adolescence and adulthood. Implications for theories of crime causation are discussed.
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The present study contrasts a newly developed measure of self-control as outlined in the General Theory of Crime, the Retrospective Behavioral Self-Control scale (RBS), with the most widespread measure of this construct. The RBS is based exclusively on an assessment of prior behavior with possible long-term negative consequences for the actor, whereas the latter scale is an example of attitudinal measures based on a listing of specific personality traits. By means of confirmatory factor analysis, it is demonstrated that the RBS measured the intended general factor of behavior across three samples, whereas the Grasmick et al. scale did not (only administered in one sample). In addition, the nomological net of self-control is explored by relating both instruments to a comprehensive battery of psychological tests and behavioral indicators. The RBS is included as an appendix.
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Self control theory assumes stable individual differences in the tendency to commit criminal acts. Social control theory assumes that this tendency is a function of bonds to conventional institutions that may vary in strength and intensity over the life course. The two theories may be accommodated by assuming that strength-of-bond differences between individuals are in fact stable and are a major component of self-control. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Self-control theory has received extensive empirical attention in the past decade, but most studies have not tested its arguments about the effects of parenting on self-control and delinquency. Using data collected from a sample of urban high school students, this study addresses this void by examining two parenting-related hypotheses derived from the theory. For one of the hypotheses, the results with self-control theory are contrasted with those obtained with Baumrind's theory of authoritative parenting, a theory that also is concerned with the link between parenting and self-control. Results generally support self-control theory's two hypotheses, but also point to empirical limitations of the theory.
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The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
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Favorable evidence on the validity of the Grasmick et al. (1993) self-control scale has been reported in studies using general population samples. However, the scale has never been tested among persons extensively involved in crime. We assessed the construct validity of this scale, slightly revised, in a heterogeneous sample of drug-using criminal offenders. Factor analyses identified five subscales, mostly congruent with existing formulations of the self-control construct. Also, recent crimes of force and fraud were more frequent among people scoring lower on self-control. However, the five-factor solution was not tenable among women, and the scale was no more closely related to crime than were three subscales representing more specific constructs already established in criminology.
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This article examines the social-selection and social-causation processes that generate criminal behavior. We describe these processes with three theoretical models: a social-causation model that links crime to contemporaneous social relationships; a social-selection model that links crime to personal characteristics formed in childhood; and a mixed selection-causation model that links crime to social relationships and childhood characteristics. We tested these models with a longitudinal study in Dunedin, New Zealand, of individuals followed from birth through age 21. We analyzed measures of childhood and adolescent low self-control as well as adolescent and adult social bonds and criminal behavior. In support of social selection, we found that low self-control in childhood predicted disrupted social bonds and criminal offending later in life. In support of social causation, we found that social bonds and adolescent delinquency predicted later adult crime and, further, that the effect of self-control on crime was largely mediated by social bonds. In support of both selection and causation, we found that the social-causation effects remained significant even when controlling for preexisting levels of self-control, but that their effects diminished. Taken together, these findings support theoretical models that incorporate social-selection and social-causation processes.
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Using survey data, various measures of self-control, based respectively on cognitive and behavioral indicators, are compared in their ability to predict eight measures of crime/deviance. The results show that either type of measure produces supportive evidence for the theory, and the behavioral measures provide no better prediction than do the cognitive measures. Unlike cognitive type indicators, and contrary to the implications of the theory, different types of crime-analogous, imprudent behaviors are not highly interrelated, making it difficult to develop reliable behavioral measures. These results suggest that general support for self-control theory would likely not be any greater if all researchers had used behaviorally based measures, as recommended by the authors of the theory. Improving the level of prediction to the point where self-control could claim to be the master variable, as envisioned by its proponents, does not seem to rest on a shift to behaviorally based measures. Instead, improvements in the theory itself, particularly the incorporation of contingencies, appears to offer more promise.
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Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory of Crime contends that low self-control interacts with opportunity to produce criminal and analogous behaviors. Although several theoretical and empirical attempts have been aimed at assessing the general theory, researchers have been slow to examine one of the central postulates of the general theory: the stability postulate. Gottfredson and Hirschi contend that once established by ages eight to ten, self-control remains relatively stable over the life-course. In the only study to address this question, Arneklev, Cochran, and Gainey found that self-control levels were relatively stable in a four month test–retest among college students. In this article, the work of Arneklev et al. is extended and examination is made of the stability postulate in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Using a national probability sample, as well as behavioral and attitudinal measures of self-control, the results offer mixed support for Gottfredson and Hirschi's stability postulate. Theoretical and future research directions are advanced.
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A broadly applicable algorithm for computing maximum likelihood estimates from incomplete data is presented at various levels of generality. Theory showing the monotone behaviour of the likelihood and convergence of the algorithm is derived. Many examples are sketched, including missing value situations, applications to grouped, censored or truncated data, finite mixture models, variance component estimation, hyperparameter estimation, iteratively reweighted least squares and factor analysis.
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A broadly applicable algorithm for computing maximum likelihood estimates from incomplete data is presented at various levels of generality. Theory showing the monotone behaviour of the likelihood and convergence of the algorithm is derived. Many examples are sketched, including missing value situations, applications to grouped, censored or truncated data, finite mixture models, variance component estimation, hyperparameter estimation, iteratively reweighted least squares and factor analysis.
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This review presents a practical summary of the missing data literature, including a sketch of missing data theory and descriptions of normal-model multiple imputation (MI) and maximum likelihood methods. Practical missing data analysis issues are discussed, most notably the inclusion of auxiliary variables for improving power and reducing bias. Solutions are given for missing data challenges such as handling longitudinal, categorical, and clustered data with normal-model MI; including interactions in the missing data model; and handling large numbers of variables. The discussion of attrition and nonignorable missingness emphasizes the need for longitudinal diagnostics and for reducing the uncertainty about the missing data mechanism under attrition. Strategies suggested for reducing attrition bias include using auxiliary variables, collecting follow-up data on a sample of those initially missing, and collecting data on intent to drop out. Suggestions are given for moving forward with research on missing data and attrition.
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There is extraordinary diversity in how the construct of self-control is operationalized in research studies. We meta-analytically examined evidence of convergent validity among executive function, delay of gratification, and self- and informant-report questionnaire measures of self-control. Overall, measures demonstrated moderate convergence (r(random) = .27 [95% CI = .24, .30]; r(fixed) = .34 [.33, .35], k = 282 samples, N = 33,564 participants), although there was substantial heterogeneity in the observed correlations. Correlations within and across types of self-control measures were strongest for informant-report questionnaires and weakest for executive function tasks. Questionnaires assessing sensation seeking impulses could be distinguished from questionnaires assessing processes of impulse regulation. We conclude that self-control is a coherent but multidimensional construct best assessed using multiple methods.
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The current study tested a set of interrelated theoretical propositions based on self-control theory (M. R. Gottfredson & T. Hirschi 1990). Data were collected on 1,155 children at 4.5 years, at 8.5 years (3rd grade), and at 10.5 years (5th grade) as part of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development longitudinal study over a 6-year period. Findings based on simple structural equation models and latent growth modeling of developmental trajectories suggest that (a) there was great construct stability of self-control and deviance over the 6-year period, (b) there was positive growth in self-control trajectory over time, (c) parenting predicted this trajectory but also explained variability in self-control at initial status, (d) there was a declining deviance trajectory over time, (e) self-control at initial status reduced the unexplained deviance variance by 44.8%, and (f) both the intercept and slope factors shared about 75% of the variance based on growth-to-growth curve predictive models of self-control and deviance. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for self-control theory and future empirical work.
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By articulating a general theory of crime and related behavior, the authors present a new and comprehensive statement of what the criminological enterprise should be about. They argue that prevalent academic criminology—whether sociological, psychological, biological, or economic—has been unable to provide believable explanations of criminal behavior. The long-discarded classical tradition in criminology was based on choice and free will, and saw crime as the natural consequence of unrestrained human tendencies to seek pleasure and to avoid pain. It concerned itself with the nature of crime and paid little attention to the criminal. The scientific, or disciplinary, tradition is based on causation and determinism, and has dominated twentieth-century criminology. It concerns itself with the nature of the criminal and pays little attention to the crime itself. Though the two traditions are considered incompatible, this book brings classical and modern criminology together by requiring that their conceptions be consistent with each other and with the results of research. The authors explore the essential nature of crime, finding that scientific and popular conceptions of crime are misleading, and they assess the truth of disciplinary claims about crime, concluding that such claims are contrary to the nature of crime and, interestingly enough, to the data produced by the disciplines themselves. They then put forward their own theory of crime, which asserts that the essential element of criminality is the absence of self-control. Persons with high self-control consider the long-term consequences of their behavior; those with low self-control do not. Such control is learned, usually early in life, and once learned, is highly resistant to change. In the remainder of the book, the authors apply their theory to the persistent problems of criminology. Why are men, adolescents, and minorities more likely than their counterparts to commit criminal acts? What is the role of the school in the causation of delinquincy? To what extent could crime be reduced by providing meaningful work? Why do some societies have much lower crime rates than others? Does white-collar crime require its own theory? Is there such a thing as organized crime? In all cases, the theory forces fundamental reconsideration of the conventional wisdom of academians and crimina justic practitioners. The authors conclude by exploring the implications of the theory for the future study and control of crime.
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Factor analysis, path analysis, structural equation modeling, and related multivariate statistical methods are based on maximum likelihood or generalized least squares estimation developed for covariance structure models. Large-sample theory provides a chi-square goodness-of-fit test for comparing a model against a general alternative model based on correlated variables. This model comparison is insufficient for model evaluation: In large samples virtually any model tends to be rejected as inadequate, and in small samples various competing models, if evaluated, might be equally acceptable. A general null model based on modified independence among variables is proposed to provide an additional reference point for the statistical and scientific evaluation of covariance structure models. Use of the null model in the context of a procedure that sequentially evaluates the statistical necessity of various sets of parameters places statistical methods in covariance structure analysis into a more complete framework. The concepts of ideal models and pseudo chi-square tests are introduced, and their roles in hypothesis testing are developed. The importance of supplementing statistical evaluation with incremental fit indices associated with the comparison of hierarchical models is also emphasized. Normed and nonnormed fit indices are developed and illustrated.
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Normed and nonnormed fit indexes are frequently used as adjuncts to chi-square statistics for evaluating the fit of a structural model. A drawback of existing indexes is that they estimate no known population parameters. A new coefficient is proposed to summarize the relative reduction in the noncentrality parameters of two nested models. Two estimators of the coefficient yield new normed (CFI) and nonnormed (FI) fit indexes. CFI avoids the underestimation of fit often noted in small samples for Bentler and Bonett's (1980) normed fit index (NFI). FI is a linear function of Bentler and Bonett's non-normed fit index (NNFI) that avoids the extreme underestimation and overestimation often found in NNFI. Asymptotically, CFI, FI, NFI, and a new index developed by Bollen are equivalent measures of comparative fit, whereas NNFI measures relative fit by comparing noncentrality per degree of freedom. All of the indexes are generalized to permit use of Wald and Lagrange multiplier statistics. An example illustrates the behavior of these indexes under conditions of correct specification and misspecification. The new fit indexes perform very well at all sample sizes.