Social Bond Theory is a criminological theory that suggests that the stronger the bonds an individual has to society, the less likely they are to engage in criminal behavior. Developed by Travis Hirschi in 1969, this theory posits that there are four constructs that make up an individual’s social bond: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. In this article, we will discuss each of these constructs in detail.

Attachment

Attachment refers to an individual’s emotional connections to others. This can include family members, friends, and other members of society. The stronger an individual’s attachment to others, the less likely they are to engage in criminal behavior because they do not want to disappoint or harm those they are attached to.

Example:

For instance, a teenager who is close to their mother and values her opinion may be less likely to join a gang or engage in criminal activities because they do not want to disappoint their mother or risk losing her trust and approval.

Commitment

Commitment refers to an individual’s investment in conventional society. This can include educational goals, career aspirations, and other conventional pursuits. The more an individual is committed to these pursuits, the less likely they are to engage in criminal behavior because it would jeopardize their ability to achieve their goals.

Example:

For example, a person who is committed to becoming a doctor may be less likely to engage in illegal activities because it could result in them losing their medical license or damaging their reputation.

Involvement

Involvement refers to an individual’s participation in conventional activities. This can include sports teams, clubs, volunteer work, and other community-based activities. The more involved an individual is with these activities, the less likely they are to engage in criminal behavior because it would interfere with their ability to participate.

Example:

For instance, a teenager who is involved in a community basketball league may be less likely to engage in criminal activities because it could result in them being suspended from the league and losing their ability to participate.

Belief

Belief refers to an individual’s adherence to societal norms and values. This can include religious beliefs, moral values, and other social norms. The more an individual believes in these norms and values, the less likely they are to engage in criminal behavior because it would go against their beliefs.

Example:

For example, a person who strongly believes in the value of honesty may be less likely to engage in fraudulent activities because it goes against their moral beliefs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Social Bond Theory suggests that individuals who have strong bonds with society are less likely to engage in criminal behavior. The four constructs of attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief all play a role in strengthening these bonds. By understanding these constructs, we can better understand how individuals become attached to society and how this attachment can help prevent criminal behavior.