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Deconstructing "Force and Fraud": An Empirical Assessment of the Generality of Crime

NCJ Number
Journal of Quantitative Criminology Volume: 19 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2003 Pages: 303-331
Cesar J. Rebellon; Irwin Waldman
David McDowall
Date Published
September 2003
29 pages
Using data from the National Youth Survey, this study examined whether force or fraud could legitimately be viewed as manifestations of a single underlying construct among American adolescents.
In defining crime, Hirschi and Gottfredson favor a definition that involves “acts of force and fraud.” As a facet of the self-control theory, force and fraud are interpreted to be manifestations of the innate human tendency to satisfy one’s short-term interests. This study attempted to test the degree to which acts of force and fraud reflect a common underlying construct. Data were used from the first wave of the National Youth Survey administered in 1977 which employed a sample of 1,725 respondents between the ages of 11 and 17 probing a wide array of deviant behaviors. The findings from confirmatory factor analyses suggest that force and fraud cannot be viewed as manifestations of a single underlying construct. However, it suggests that multi-factor models of force and fraud improve significantly upon the fit of single-factor models. Force and fraud may therefore reflect overlapping, but empirically distinct constructs. Tables and references


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