Parental socialization and community context: A longitudinal analysis of the structural sources of low self-control

Travis C. Pratt, Michael G. Turner, Alex R. Piquero

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233 Citations (Scopus)


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 beginning 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 socialization 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 interrelationships between our neighborhood-level measures and parental socialization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-243
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Neighborhood disadvantage
  • Parental socialization
  • Self-control

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