Travis Hirschi was a renowned criminologist who developed the social control theory, which aimed to explain why people engage in delinquent behavior. According to Hirschi, individuals who have weak bonds with society are more likely to commit crimes than those who have strong bonds. In this article, we’ll explore Hirschi’s social control theory and understand the factors that he linked to delinquent behavior.

What is Social Control Theory?

Social control theory proposes that people behave in a certain way because of the social bonds they share with others. These bonds include attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. According to Hirschi, individuals who have strong social bonds are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior.

Attachment

Attachment refers to an individual’s emotional bond with significant others such as parents, siblings, and peers. Hirschi argued that individuals who feel attached to their family and friends are less likely to engage in criminal activities. This is because they fear damaging these relationships if they were caught committing a crime.

Commitment

Commitment refers to an individual’s investment in conventional activities such as education or career. Hirschi suggested that individuals who have a strong commitment towards these activities are less likely to engage in criminal behavior because it would jeopardize their future prospects.

Involvement

Involvement refers to an individual’s participation in conventional activities such as sports or volunteering. Hirschi believed that individuals who are involved in these types of activities have less time and opportunity to engage in delinquent behavior.

Belief

Belief refers to an individual’s adherence to societal norms and values. Hirschi argued that individuals who believe in these norms and values are less likely to engage in criminal behavior because they see it as morally wrong.

In conclusion, Hirschi’s social control theory suggests that individuals who have strong bonds with society are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. Attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief are the four factors that Hirschi linked to delinquent behavior.

Individuals who lack these factors are more susceptible to committing crimes. Therefore, it is essential for societies to strengthen these bonds to prevent criminal activities from occurring.