Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Social Work


Sociology, Criminology and Penology.


Nakhaie, Reza,




Although Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) General Theory of Crime has received much more attention over the last decade than that of Hirschi's (1969) Social Control Theory, it is imperative that the latter theory's contribution not be overlooked. Social Control Theory posits that delinquent acts result when an individuals bond to society is weak or broken. Hirschi proposed that the four elements comprising the social bond are attachment, commitment, involvement and belief. Due to the shortcomings of Social Control Theory's ability to explain delinquency, Gottfredson in collaboration with Hirschi (1990) formulated the General Theory of Crime. At the heart of the authors' theory rests the assertion that all illegal activity is the manifestation of a single underlying cause, that being "low self control." Outlined in their theory are six dimensions, which they argue, come to comprise a uni-dimensional trait of low self-control. This thesis was developed in part to test the utility of each theory and to determine which theory has better explanative power in regards to delinquency. Coupled with this, the dimensions of each theory were analyzed to determine which best explained delinquency. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 42-02, page: 0481. Adviser: Reza Nakhaie. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2003.