Problems of cross-cultural criminology no more! Testing two central tenets of Self-Control Theory across 28 nations

Alexander T. Vazsonyi, Albert J. Ksinan, Magda Javakhishvili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: The current investigation tested two tenets from self-control theory regarding its cross-national validity and applicability, namely the extent to which (1) parenting behaviors (closeness and monitoring) were associated with low self-control, and (2) the extent to which opportunities (two competing operationalizations: routine activities or peer deviance) and low self-control independently (and synergistically) predicted deviant behaviors. Methods: Data were collected as part of the Second International Self-Report Delinquency Study (ISRD-2) from 28 cultures, from seventh, eighth, and ninth grade adolescents (N = 66,859), and analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling. Country level variables included years in school, size of the prison population, unemployment rate, and life expectancy. Results: (1) Low self-control significantly varied at both the individual- and country-levels; both closeness and monitoring negatively predicted low self-control. At the country level, more years in school and a greater prison population were positively associated with low self-control, while life expectancy was negatively associated. (2) Deviance significantly varied at the individual and country levels. Low self-control and opportunities (peer deviance and routine activities) uniquely explained variance in deviance. Conclusions: Findings provide support for the cross-cultural application of self-control theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101827
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Comparative
  • Crime
  • Cross-national
  • Delinquency
  • Deviance
  • Low self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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