Testing an Integration of Control Theories: The Role of Bonds and Self-Control in Decision Making

Tyler J. Vaughan, Jeffrey A. Bouffard, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Since the redefinition of self-control (Hirschi, 2004) social bonding measures have been utilized as predictors or indicators of revised or decisional self-control. This approach departs from the prior literature which has hypothesized a selection effect of self-control on social bonds. To reconcile this discrepancy and explain the relationship among two self-control measures (attitudinal and revised self-control), an alternate model is proposed that explains the process of self-control on refrainment from offending at the situation level. Surveys using the vignette method for a hypothetical drunk-driving decision-making task were collected from large samples of young adults and inmates. Path analysis is used to model bonds and self-control as determinates of decisional self-control, thus indirectly influencing self-reported estimates of drunk-driving likelihood. Decisional self-control, attitudinal self-control and social bonds also directly affect intentions to drive drunk. Overall, the proposed model is supported. A strong direct effect of attitudinal self-control on drunk-driving likelihood remains while controlling for decisional self-control. There are relatively smaller indirect effects of social bonds and attitudinal self-control on drunk-driving likelihood, through their effects on decisional self-control. These findings support the need for the conceptual separation of bonds, attitudinal and decisional self-control as well as increased attention to differential effects of self-control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-133
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Journal of Criminal Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision making
  • Drunk-driving
  • Self-control
  • Social bonds

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