Self-Control in a Criminal Sample

An Examination of Construct Validity

by Douglas L. Longshore, Susan Turner, Judith Stein

Favorable evidence on the validity of the Grasmick et al. (1993) self-control scale has been reported in studies using general population samples. However, the scale has never been tested among persons extensively involved in crime. The authors assessed the construct validity of this scale, slightly revised, in a heterogeneous sample of drug-using criminal offenders. Factor analyses identified five subscales, mostly congruent with existing formulations of the self-control construct. Also, recent crimes of force and fraud were more frequent among people scoring lower on self-control. However, the five-factor solution was not tenable among women, and the scale was no more closely related to crime than were three subscales representing more specific constructs already established in criminology.

Originally published in: Criminology, v. 34, no. 2, May 1996, pp. 209-228.

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