Antisocial Behavior

Antisocial Behavior in Europe

Self Control or Morality: What Matters in Antisocial Behavior?

Teresa Fernandes Sousa, from the Faculty of Law, University of Porto, made a contribution to the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, in the category “Criminological Theory, Research and Education,” under the title “Self Control or Morality: What Matters in Antisocial Behavior?”. Here is the abstract: Self-control and morality are two important concepts in the study of crime and deviant behaviour. Self-control is an individual ability to control one's behaviour in order to obtain some reward or avoid some punishment. Self-control is, to the General Theory of Crime, the main factor behind deviant behaviour and one of the most concepts ever tested in social sciences, especially in Criminology. In turn, morality is a set of rules about what is wrong or right in particular circumstances and the prime factor in explaining misconducts, to the Situational Action Theory. For a long time, these two concepts were studied as two independent ideas. However, in the recent years, it has been a growing consensus about the importance of their integration: which of both matters in the explanation of deviant behaviour? Using data collected from 347 adolescents, we try to contribute to understand the cross talk between self control, morality and deviant behaviour. Our results provide good support to the idea that self-control has an important role in deviant behaviour; however, when we take morality into account, this is the most important concept in understanding deviant behaviour.

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Further Reading

  • “Self Control or Morality: What Matters in Antisocial Behavior?”, by Teresa Fernandes Sousa (Proceedings)

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