Social control theory is a criminological theory that suggests that societal constraints, such as relationships and social norms, have a significant impact on an individual’s behavior. The theory posits that individuals are naturally inclined to engage in deviant behavior, but the presence of social controls can keep them in line.
An example of social control theory can be seen in the case of teenage delinquency. According to the theory, teenagers who lack strong social bonds and relationships with their families, schools, and communities are more likely to engage in delinquent behavior. This is because they do not have the same level of accountability or attachment to these institutions and therefore have less reason to conform to societal norms.
On the other hand, teenagers who have a strong sense of attachment and commitment to these institutions are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. They have more to lose if they were caught engaging in deviant activities because they value their relationships with their families and communities more.
One way that this theory can be applied is through the use of mentoring programs for at-risk youth. By providing positive role models and establishing strong relationships with these youths, mentors can help increase their sense of attachment and commitment to society’s norms, thus reducing their likelihood of engaging in delinquent behavior.
Another example of social control theory can be seen in the workplace. Employees who feel a strong sense of connection and loyalty towards their company are less likely to engage in behaviors that could harm it. This could include things like stealing from the company or engaging in unethical practices.
Overall, social control theory suggests that individuals are heavily influenced by their social environment and the presence (or absence) of societal constraints. By strengthening these constraints through positive relationships and reinforcing societal norms, we can reduce rates of deviant behavior and create a safer society for all.