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Review of the Roots of Youth Violence: Literature Reviews Volume 5, Chapter Social Control and Self-Control Theories 11 Social Control Theory Social control theory gained prominence during the s as sociologists sought differing conceptions of crime.
It was during this period that Travis Hirschi put forth his innovative rendering of control theory, a theory built upon existing concepts of social control.
As such, social control theory posits that crime occurs when such bonds are weakened or are not well established. Control theorists argue that without such bonds, crime is an inevitable outcome Lilly et al. Unlike other theories that seek to explain why people engage in deviant behaviour, control theories take the opposite approach, questioning why people refrain from offending Akers and Sellars, As a result, criminality is seen as a possibility for all individuals within society, avoided only by those who seek to maintain familial and social bonds.
According to Hirschi, these bonds are based on attachment to those both within and outside of the family, including friends, teachers, and co-workers; commitment to activities in which an individual has invested time and energy, such as educational or career goals; involvement in activities that serve to both further bond an individual to others and leave limited time to become involved in deviant activities; and finally, belief in wider social values.
These four aspects of social control are thought to interact to insulate an individual from criminal involvement Siegel and McCormick, Those seeking to test the strength of this theory as it specifically relates to young people have closely examined bonds with family, schools, community, and religion to determine the extent to which such bonds impact offending.
The following discusses a selection of the literature on social control theory as it pertains to youth delinquency and offending. Parental Attachment Social control theory is situated amongst other sociological theories that focus on the role of social and familial bonds as constraints on offending.
It is proposed that for young people, a key aspect of social control is found within the family, particularly through interactions with and feelings towards parents. Of the studies that have examined the impact of social control on delinquency, a large proportion has found a negative relationship between parental attachment and delinquency.
As such, it has been found that the greater the attachment to parents, the lower the likelihood of involvement in delinquent behaviour.
It should be noted that out of all of the studies reviewed for this report, only one found that parental attachment had no effect on delinquency Brannigan et al. In their study on the effects of adolescent male aggression during early adolescence on later violent offending, Brendgen et al.
More specifically, the authors were keenly interested in examining how parental monitoring impacted aggression leading to later violent offending. The sample of Caucasian males from Montreal was assessed by their teachers with respect to aggressive behaviour. Self-report data were also collected from respondents approximately three and four years later, at the ages of 16 and 17, regarding the perpetration of physically violent offending.
The extent of parental supervision and caregiving exhibited were also monitored at various junctures during this study period.
In contrast, adolescent partner violence was associated with reactive aggression, or aggression categorized as defensive behaviour in response to perceived aggression. The authors further found that adolescent males who experienced less monitoring by parents were more likely to demonstrate proactive aggression and violence later on in adolescence.
The authors conclude by suggesting that early intervention, in the form of differing parenting strategies, could indeed lead to the prevention of later adolescent violent offending.
The findings of this study support the notion that parenting practices and parental support can impact violent offending by youth. Attachment is a central component of social control theory, particularly as it relates to parental attachment. Amongst these studies was a research study conducted by Henrich et al.
The authors found that young people who reported feeling a stronger connection with their parents were less likely to commit violent offences with a weapon Henrich et al.An exchange theory of family violence is derived from the assumptions and propositions of social exchange theory (Blau ; Homans ; Thibault and Kelley ) and control theory (Hirschi ).
The Social Control of Family Violence The definition of family violence, and the social response to it, has been created through the historical and political struct ure (Gordon, ). In addition, the learned helplessness theory was based on perceived characteristics ostensibly shared by battered women, such as low self esteem, a tendency to withdraw, or perceptions of loss of control.
Abstract. Violence is not a single kind of activity, but rather a socially defined category of activities that share some common features. This article presents a social perspective on violence that calls attention to the meanings of violence and to other social factors that promote and support or, alternatively, oppose and restrict violence.
There has been a decidedly different social response to the abuse of a child and the abuse of an intimate partner, although both forms of violence occur within the family. Family violence theories (including systems theory, ecological theory, exchange/social control theory, resource theory, and the subculture-of-violence theory) view intimate partner violence as an expression of conflict within the family that can best be understood through examination of social structures contributing to the use of violence.