Mei-Wah Williams

Doctor of Philosophy, (Pyschology)
Study Completed: 2008
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Testing and Extending Self-control Theory of Crime

Ms Williams investigated and extended the self-control theory of crime. Low self-control is ranked as one of the strongest risk factors for crime but its lack of explanatory power has been a concern. Integrating self-control theory with the theory of planned behaviour led to the study’s aims: to ascertain the mechanism by which a person with low self-control is at greater risk for crime; and to increase the explanatory power of self-control theory. Three groups, namely, male and female students, and prison inmates were used. Low self-control was predictive of behavioural intentions to do crime for a prison population, but not for students. The proximate determinants of crime, normative influence and perceived control, exerted considerable influence on crime, increasing the explanatory value of self-control theory. The results have implications for including significant others and behavioural control variables in understanding the causes of crime.

Dr Richard Fletcher
Professor Kevin Ronan

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