Exploring the relationships between gender, control balance, and deviance

Matthew Hickman, Alex Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Most scholars acknowledge that males are overrepresented in crime statistics, but existing criminological theory has not yet provided a widely accepted explanation of this difference. In this article, we review Tittle's (1995) arguments concerning gender differences in deviant behavior and derive five gender hypotheses from control balance theory. Using data collected specifically for the purpose of operationalizing the control ratio, we examine differential involvement in two forms of deviance (predation against self and exploitation against others) and empirically assess each of the derived hypotheses. Three key findings emerge from our effort. First, we fail to find a statistically significant difference between the mean control balance ratios of male's and females as well as the items that comprise the control balance scale. Second, we find a significant relationship between gender and involvement in two types of deviance. Third, and more importantly, we uncover differential effects of the control balance ratio on the two types of deviance that are contingent on gender. We discuss the implications of our gender-control balance-deviance interaction for control balance theory, and outline directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-351
Number of pages29
JournalDeviant Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2001
Externally publishedYes

Cite this