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01-04-2008 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2008

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 4/2008

Self-Control, Social Factors, and Delinquency: A Test of The General Theory of Crime Among Adolescents in Hong Kong

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 4/2008
Auteurs:
Nicole W. T. Cheung, Yuet W. Cheung

Abstract

The objectives of this study were to test the predictive power of self-control theory for delinquency in a Chinese context, and to explore if social factors as predicted in social bonding theory, differential association theory, general strain theory, and labeling theory have effects on delinquency in the presence of self-control. Self-report data were collected from 1,015 Chinese secondary school students (463 boys and 552 girls) in Hong Kong aged between 14 and 19. Bivariate results showed that low self-control is correlated with delinquency in the Chinese setting. We also found that low self-control is linked to a range of negative social conditions in Chinese adolescents, including disrupted social bonds, delinquent association, deviant definition, educational under-achievement, coercive parenting, negative school experiences, negative relations with peers, stressful life events, and labeling by parents and teachers. However, contrary to self-control theory and many previous studies based on Western samples, self-control fails to predict delinquency when social variables are controlled for among Chinese adolescents. The effects of social factors on delinquency remain significant net of self-control. This suggests that it is the combination of self-control and social factors in the prediction of delinquency that might be variant across cultures. These findings from adolescents from Hong Kong only partially support the culture-free thesis of self-control theory. The implications of Chinese cultural forces on the influence of self-control merit closer attention.

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