Control ratios and defiant acts of deviance: Assessing additive and conditional effects with constraints and impulsivity

Theodore R. Curry, Alex R. Piquero

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Control balance theory, couched as an integrated explanation of deviance, has been tested thus far using exclusively a "scenario" method that assessed respondents' perceived probability of deviance. We build on these efforts with a measure of the frequency of "defiant" deviance to assess both the additive effects of control ratios and the conditional effects of constraints and impulsivity, identified as key to the larger "causal process" affecting deviance. Supportive of the theory, control ratio deficits were positively related to defiant deviance. However, control ratio surpluses were positively associated with defiant deviance, which does not support theoretical predictions. Analyses of contingent effects show that the effects of control ratio deficits and surpluses are stronger when impulsivity is higher, supporting the theory, but that variation in constraints did not influence the effects of control ratios in a manner predicted by the theory. We explore the implications of these findings and suggest modifications for the theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-415+420+423+426
JournalSociological Perspectives
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes

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