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Low Self-Control and Crime in Late Adulthood

NCJ Number
Research on Aging Volume: 38 Issue: 7 Dated: 2016 Pages: 767-790
Date Published
24 pages
This study examined whether low self-control theory explains self-reported criminal activity in late adulthood.

The study used cross-sectional survey data from telephone interviews conducted with individuals aged 60 years and older in Arizona and Florida (N = 2,000). Regression analyses showed that low self-control was related to criminal offending. The relationship between low self-control and offending persisted after the introduction of potential mediators (e.g., unstructured socializing, negative emotions, and familial ties) and was even observed across different stages of late adulthood (i.e., young-old, old-old, and oldest-old) characterized by declining physical and cognitive abilities. Robustness checks using alternative measurement and modeling strategies also provided empirical support. Although strong causal inferences were limited by the nature of the data, the findings generally support the notion that low self-control theory partially explains criminal offending in late adulthood. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2016