A test of Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory of Crime in African American adolescents

Alexander T. Vazsonyi, Jennifer M. Crosswhite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Considerable empirical support exists for The General Theory of Crime. However, little work has been completed on members of minority populations in the United States. The current investigation examined whether low self-control predicted deviance in a sample of African American adolescents (n = 661; 55.1 percent female; mean age = 15.7 years). Confirmatory Factor Analyses provided evidence that the low self-control measure was a valid and reliable multidimensional scale in this sample, for both males and females. In addition, low self-control explained between 8.4 percent and 13.0 percent of the variance in male deviance measures and between 4.0 percent and 8.4 percent in female deviance. Follow-up z-tests by sex indicated few differences in the relationships between low self-control and deviance. In addition, comparative analyses by race between African American and Caucasian adolescent males provided evidence of similarity in the importance of self-control. Findings support the cross-cultural validity of the General Theory of Crime, particularly for male adolescents and to a lesser extent for female youth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-432
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Caucasian
  • Cross-cultural
  • Deviance
  • Self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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