Jump to Content Jump to Main Navigation

Criminology Integrated Theory
by
Del Elliot

Introduction

Integrated theories are theories that combine the concepts and central propositions from two or more prior existing theories into a new single set of integrated concepts and propositions. Integration can take several forms. Conceptual integration involves an absorption strategy, arguing that concepts from one theory have the same meaning as concepts from another theory and combining them into a common language and set of concepts. Propositional integration involves combining or linking propositions from one or more theories into a single, unified and consistent set of propositions. Conceptual integration is very common in theory development and a review of this type of integration essentially would involve a general review of criminological theory. Propositional integration, as a distinct development strategy is relatively rare and recent and is the subject of this online bibliography. In some instances propositional integration is based on theory commonalities and in others it involves integrating competing theories. The number of theories combined currently ranges from two to four and there is substantial variation in the structure of the proposed integration. Structural arrangements typically take one of four forms: arranging theories (propositions) end-to-end, side-by-side, up and down, and some combination of these forms. The most common form of integration involves combining social control and social learning theories. Proponents view theory integration as an alternative strategy for theory development and testing that addresses some of the limitations of the more traditional competition strategy. They also claim increased levels of explanatory power compared to that of the individual theories combined and greater inclusiveness in types of criminal behavior explained. There is a lively debate about the nature and efficacy of this strategy, the structure and coherence of specific formulations, and the level of empirical support for specific integrated theories.

General Overviews

Introductory criminology texts typically include a chapter or major part of a chapter discussing the integrated theory strategy and specific theories. Brown, et al. 2010 provides a good overview of integrated theory for undergraduates. Akers and Sellers 2004 and Kubrin, et al. 2009 provide a deeper review and critique more suitable for graduate-level courses. The chapter in Kubrin, et al. 2009 is the most detailed overview of integrated theory. The collected papers from two conferences on integrated theory have been published. Messner, et al. 1989 provides the most complete single source of information about integrated theory, including critical reviews, new proposed theoretical formulations, and an analysis of theoretical integrations at different levels (micro, macro, and cross-level) of explanation. The second collection of papers in Farrington, et al. 1993 focuses more narrowly on cross-level integration. Both of these volumes are appropriate for graduate-level courses. Muftić 2009 provides a comprehensive review of the history of theory integration, including conceptual as well as propositional forms. Liska, et al. 1989 discusses different integration strategies and provides in-depth reviews of more specific issues raised about the general assumptions and objectives of the integration strategy, and Thornberry 1989 compares the advantages and disadvantages of the integration strategy and provides a key definition of integrated theory.

  • Akers, Ronald, and Christine Sellers. 2004. Criminological theories, introduction, evaluation and application. 4th ed. Los Angeles: Roxbury.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapter 12 provides an overview of the integration strategy, a description and critique of specific integrated theories, and an overall assessment of how successful this strategy has been in criminology

    Find this resource:

  • Brown, Steven E., Finn-Aage Esbensen, and Gilbert Geis. 2010. Criminology: Explaining crime and its context. 7th ed. New Providence, NJ: Matthew Bender.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapter 10 presents one of the more comprehensive reviews of the integration strategy and several specific theories in an introductory text. It also discusses the policy implications and applications of integrated theories.

    Find this resource:

  • Farrington, David P., Robert J. Sampson, and Per-Olof Wikström, eds. 1993. Integrating individual and ecological aspects of crime. Revised papers presented at a workshop held at Johannesburg, Sweden, in September 1992. Stockholm: National Council for Crime Prevention.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of papers from a workshop in Sweden in 1992 focusing on the integration of individual social developmental and ecological theories of crime. Specific papers review the evidence for individual-level developmental and macro-level ecological theories, propose new attempts to integrate individual and ecological theories, discuss methods for achieving this type of cross-level integration, and identify the key issues involved in this type of integration.

    Find this resource:

  • Kubrin, Charis E., Thomas D. Stucky, and Marvin D. Krohn. 2009. Researching theories of crime and deviance. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A general review of criminological theory. Chapter 10 is devoted to integrated theory and provides an intellectual history of theory development and the different strategies used for testing theory that led up to the integration strategy. Different structural arrangements employed by integrated theories are described and examples of each are provided along with a review of the debate about the value of the integration strategy.

    Find this resource:

  • Liska, Allen E., Marvin D. Krohn, and Steven F. Messner. 1989. Strategies and requisites for theoretical integration in the study of crime and delinquency. In Theoretical integration in the study of deviance and crime: Problems and prospects. Edited by Steven F. Messner, Marvin D. Krohn, and Allen E. Liska, 1–19. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This introduction to the collected papers in Messner, et al. 1989 raises some concerns about the integration strategy, defines integration and then reviews the rationale for integration, describes different types of structures employed in integrated theories, and discusses integration at and across different levels of explanation.

    Find this resource:

  • Messner, Steven F., Marvin D. Krohn, and Allen E. Liska, eds. 1989. Theoretical integration in the study of deviance and crime: Problems and prospects. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of papers from a 1987 conference in Albany, New York, on theoretical integration, organized around the theme of integration at different levels of analysis. Specific chapters provide critiques of integration at each level of explanation, new proposed integrated theories, and prospects for the future of this strategy in criminology.

    Find this resource:

  • Muftić, Lisa. 2009. Macro-micro theoretical integration: An unexplored theoretical frontier. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology 1:33–71.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A historical review of integration efforts in criminology with a focus on the potential value of multilevel integration. Reviews the goals of integration, alternative construction strategies, advantages and disadvantages of integration, and types of integration. Notes that conceptual integration is very common, but propositional integration is relatively recent.

    Find this resource:

  • Thornberry, Terrence P. 1989. Reflections on the advantages and disadvantages of theoretical integration. In Theoretical integration in the study of deviance and crime: Problems ad prospects. Edited by Steven F. Messner, Marvin D. Krohn, and Allen E. Liska, 51–60. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Raises the question whether conceptual overlap or absorption is enough to claim theoretical integration has occurred, then defines theoretical integration as the combining of two or more sets of logically interrelated sets of propositions. Proposes theoretical elaboration as another alternative strategy to theoretical integration.

    Find this resource:

  • Vold, George B., Thomas J. Bernard, and Jeffrey B. Snipes. 2002. Theoretical criminology. 5th ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapter 17 discusses theoretical integration. The falsification (competition) versus integration debate is reviewed, several specific integrated theories are described and critiqued, and the authors’ approach to integrating theories is presented.

    Find this resource:

Micro-Level Theoretical Integration

Most current integrated theories are at the individual level (micro-level), providing explanations for variation in crime between and within individuals. A few are ecological-level (macro-level) integrations or unified individual and macro- (cross-level) level theories. Specific integrated theories at each level are described.

Integrated Theory

An early version of integrated theory was proposed by Elliott, et al. 1979 and elaborated on by Elliott, et al. 1985. It is one of the earliest propositional integration theories, combining strain, social control, and social learning theories. Elliott, et al. 1979 argue that there are multiple causal paths to delinquent behavior that are explicated in this integration of theories. To achieve coherence in the set of propositions, the control theory assumption of a natural, universal motivation to crime is rejected. Tests of this theory involving longitudinal data are found in Elliott, et al. 1989; Elliott and Menard 1996; Menard and Elliott 1994; Roitberg and Menard 1995; and Esbensen and Elliott 1994. Rodriguez and Weisburd 1991 extend the populations tested earlier to include a sample of inner-city Puerto Rican youth.

  • Elliott, Delbert S., Suzanne S. Ageton, and Rachelle J. Cantor. 1979. An integrated theoretical perspective on delinquent behavior. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 16:3–27.

    DOI: 10.1177/002242787901600102Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The original statement of integrated theory, a combination of strain, social control, and social learning theories into a new single theory. The structure of the integration involved a mixed end-to-end and side-by-side form. The logic of the integration required some modification of the underlying assumptions of control theory. This was the proposed theoretical orientation for the National Youth Survey.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Delbert S., David Huizinga, and Suzanne S. Ageton. 1985. Explaining delinquency and drug use. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A more elaborated statement of integrated theory and a test of this theory with longitudinal data from the National Youth Survey. Support for the theory was found for both the onset and continuity of self-reported delinquency and drug use.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Delbert S., David Huizinga, and Scot Menard. 1989. Multiple problem youth: Delinquency, substance use, and mental health problems. New York: Springer-Verlag.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A second longitudinal test of integrated theory with data from the National Youth Survey, extending the dependent variables considered to several mental health as well as delinquency and drug-use outcomes. The analysis demonstrated that the theory provided a better prediction and more powerful explanation for these behaviors than that provided by any one of the separate theories.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Delbert S., and Scott Menard. 1996. Delinquent friends and delinquent behavior: Temporal and developmental patterns. In Delinquency and crime: Current theories. Edited by David Hawkins, 28–67. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test comparing propositions from social control theory, interaction theory, and integrated theory concerning the relationship between delinquent friends and delinquent behavior with longitudinal data from the National Youth Survey. Support for both integrated theory and interaction theory was reported.

    Find this resource:

  • Esbensen, Finn-Aage, and Delbert S. Elliott. 1994. Continuity and discontinuity in illicit drug use: Patterns and antecedents. Journal of Drug Issues 24:75–97.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This test of integrated theory considers the power of the theory to account for the continuity and termination of involvement in substance use over the life course. Longitudinal data are from the National Youth Survey.

    Find this resource:

  • Menard, Scott, and Delbert S. Elliott. 1994. Delinquent bonding, moral beliefs and illegal behavior: A three-wave panel model. Justice Quarterly 11:173–188.

    DOI: 10.1080/07418829400092211Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An examination of the relationship between delinquent peer-group bonding, conventional moral beliefs, and serious and minor delinquent offending over three waves of longitudinal data. The results of this partial test were consistent with the theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Rodriguez, Orlando, and David Weisburd. 1991. The integrated social control model and ethnicity: The case of Puerto Rican American delinquency. Criminal Behavior and Justice 18:464–479.

    DOI: 10.1177/0093854891018004007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article extends the populations tested with integrated theory to a sample of inner-city Puerto Rican youth. The study found some differences in the strength of specific predicted relationships but generally supported the theory for this specific ethnic group.

    Find this resource:

  • Roitberg, Thalia, and Scott Menard. 1995. Adolescent violence: A test of integrated theory. Studies on Crime and Crime Prevention 4:177–196.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of integrated theory with five waves of the National Youth Survey focusing on the onset, prevalence, and frequency of violent offending. Results supported the theory for both the general population and for those who were active offenders.

    Find this resource:

Network Theory

Marvin Krohn (see Krohn 1986) proposed an integrated theory called network theory. This theory combines Sutherland’s differential association theory and Hirschi’s version of social control theory, focusing on the social conditions and factors that operate to regulate and integrate individuals and groups into conventional society. The theory rejects some of the assumptions of control theory to facilitate a logical integration of these two theories. Two types of networks, personal and social, are described. Both the content and context of the personal network are taken into account, and it is both the multiplexity in social relationships and the density of networks that function to constrain delinquent behavior. Krohn, et al. 1998 provides a formal test of this theory.

  • Krohn, Marvin D. 1986. The web of conformity: A network approach to the explanation of delinquent behavior. Social Problems 33:S81–S93.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Network theory is described and three central propositions are proposed. The two types of networks described suggest an attempt to bridge macro and micro levels of explanation, but most criminologists consider network theory to be a micro-level theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Krohn, Marvin D., James L. Massey, and Mary Zielinski. 1998. Role overlap, network multiplexity and adolescent deviant behavior. Social Psychology Quarterly 51:346–356.

    DOI: 10.2307/2786761Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of network theory on high-school students’ cigarette-smoking behavior. Support for the theory is found with adolescents participating jointly with parents and friends and adolescents whose friends are known to parents being less likely to use cigarettes.

    Find this resource:

Interaction Theory

Terrence Thornberry published the initial statement of interaction theory in Thornberry 1987. The theory was expanded in Thornberry and Krohn 2005. The original theoretical statement involved a combination of propositions from social control theory and social learning theory. The later statement added elements from social disorganization theory. Because tests of this theory have used individual-level measures of disorganization and disadvantage, it is treated here as a micro-level rather than a cross-level theory. The relationship between social contexts, social control, social learning, and delinquency variables is postulated to be reciprocal across developmental stages over the life course. The postulated reciprocal nature of these relationships is the distinguishing feature of this theory. Krohn, et al. 1996; Menard and Elliott 1994; Thornberry, et al. 1991; and Thornberry, et al. 1994 provide tests of the original (micro-level) version of the theory.

  • Krohn, Marvin D., Alan J. Lizotte, Terrene P. Thornberry, Carolyn Smith, and David McDowall. 1996. Reciprocal causal relationships among drug use, peers and beliefs: A five-wave panel model. Journal of Drug Issues 26:405–428.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of interaction theory with longitudinal data from the Rochester Youth Study. Results indicated a reciprocal relationship between drug use and peer drug use as predicted by the theory. Beliefs about drug use were also reciprocally related, but the effects were weak. Support was also found for the hypothesis that these effects would be stronger in later stages of development.

    Find this resource:

  • Menard, Scott, and Delbert S. Elliott. 1994. Delinquent bonding, moral beliefs and illegal behavior: A three-wave panel model. Justice Quarterly 11:173–188.

    DOI: 10.1080/07418829400092211Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of interaction theory examining the relationship between delinquent peer-group bonding, conventional moral beliefs, and serious and minor delinquent offending with three waves of longitudinal data from the National Youth Survey. The over-time relationships between these variables were reciprocal, providing support for interaction theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Thornberry, Terrence P. 1987. Toward an interactional theory of delinquency. Criminology 25:863–891.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1987.tb00823.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Delinquency is viewed as a result of weakened social bonds to conventional society and an interactional setting in which delinquent behavior is learned and reinforced. The unique feature of this version of integrated theory is the proposition that the relationship between different dimensions of bonding and delinquent behavior is reciprocal.

    Find this resource:

  • Thornberry, Terrence, and Marvin D. Krohn. 2005. Applying interaction theory to the explanation of continuity and change in antisocial behavior. In Integrated Developmental and Life-Course Theories of Offending. Edited by David D. Farrington, 183–209. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An expansion of interaction theory to include elements of social disorganization theory. The expanded theory is cast in a life-course developmental framework and offers explanations for the onset, continuity, and change in delinquent offending.

    Find this resource:

  • Thornberry, Terrence P., Alan J. Lizotte, Marvin D. Krohn, Margaret Farnsworth, and Sung Joon Jang. 1991. Testing interaction theory: An examination of reciprocal causal relationships among family, school and delinquency. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 82:3–35.

    DOI: 10.2307/1143788Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of interaction theory with three waves of data from the Rochester Youth Development Study. Findings were mixed: bonding to parents and commitment to school were reciprocally related to delinquent behavior, but the relationship between the two bonding variables was not reciprocal, contrary to theoretical expectation.

    Find this resource:

  • Thornberry, Terrence P., Alan J. Lizotte, Marvin D. Krohn, Margaret Farnsworth, and Sung Joon Jang. 1994. Delinquent peers, beliefs and delinquent behavior: A longitudinal test of interaction theory. Criminology 32:47–84.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1994.tb01146.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comparison of three models of the relationship between delinquent beliefs, delinquent peers, and delinquent behavior with three waves of longitudinal data from the Rochester Youth Development Study. Support for the reciprocal relationship predicted by interaction theory was found. Beliefs had a lagged effect on both peer associations and delinquent behavior.

    Find this resource:

The Social Development Model

The social development model was proposed by J. David Hawkins and Joseph Weis in 1985 (Hawkins and Weis 1985). This theory combines elements of social control, social learning, and differential association theories and provides the theoretical rationale for two major community prevention initiatives: Communities that Care and Raising Healthy Children. Catalano, et al. 2008 test the model to determine if it mediates the effects of macro-level structural variables on rates of antisocial behavior. Catalano, et al. 1996; Huang, et al. 2001; and Lonczak, et al. 2001 provide general tests of this model.

  • Catalano, Richard F., Rick Kosterman, J. David Hawkins, Michael D. Newcomb, and Robert D. Abbott. 1996. Modeling the etiology of adolescent substance use: A test of the social development model. Journal of Drug Issues 26:429–455.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of the social development model with longitudinal data from the Seattle Social Development Project. A structural equation modeling analysis supported the theory for predictions of drug use in late adolescence.

    Find this resource:

  • Catalano, Richard F., Jisuk Park, Tracy W. Harachi, Kevin Haggerty, Robert D. Abbott, and J. David Hawkins. 2008. Testing mediational hypotheses of the social developmental model: Position in the social structure, constitutional factors and external constraints. In Integrated developmental and life-course theories of offending. Edited by David P. Farrington, 93–123. Advances in Criminological Theory 14. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of the social development theory to determine if the social processes identified in the model mediate the effects of several macro-level structural/contextual variables and individual constitutional characteristics. The results indicate that the model partially mediates the effects of position in the social structure and fully mediates the effects of external restraints. Support is claimed for a cross-level integration that includes structural-level variables in the social development model.

    Find this resource:

  • Hawkins, J. David, and Joseph G. Weis. 1985. The social development model: An integrated approach to delinquency prevention. Journal of Primary Prevention 6:73–97.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF01325432Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes a comprehensive strategy for delinquency prevention based on an early version of the social development model. The theory combines social control theory and social learning theory. Approaches consistent with this theory are described.

    Find this resource:

  • Huang, B., Rick Kosterman, Richard F. Catalano, J. David Hawkins, and Robert D. Abbott. 2001. Modeling mediation in the etiology of violent behavior and adolescence: A test of the social development model. Criminology 39:75–107.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2001.tb00917.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of the social development model with longitudinal data from the Seattle Social Development Project. The model was used to predict violent behavior at age eighteen, using a structural equation modeling technique. The results provide support for the model.

    Find this resource:

  • Lonczak, Heather S., Bu Huang, Richard Catalano, J. David Hawkins, Karl G. Hill, Robert D. Abbott, Jeanne A. Ryan, and Rick Kosterman. 2001. The social predictors of adolescent alcohol misuse: A test of the social development model. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 62:179–189.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of the model with longitudinal data from the Seattle Social Development Project with structural equation modeling. The results support the social development model.

    Find this resource:

Macro-Level Theoretical Integration

Macro-level integration involves combining theories that offer an explanation for rates of criminal behavior among social groups, social systems, or in particular social contexts. The causal variables in these theories are primarily structural characteristics of social systems, social and political policies and practices, and social processes operating at the system or contextual level.

Integrated Structural-Marxist Theory

Colvin and Pauly 1983 proposed an integration of structural-Marxist theory, anomie theory, social control theory, and social learning theory. Key variables are parent’s social class, workplace control structures; family and school compliance structures and bonding; strain and alienation from social institutions and legitimate; and illegitimate opportunity structures in the school, local neighborhood, and community. Social control, strain, and learning variables are contextual-level variables. Messner and Krohn 1990 provide a partial test of the theory.

  • Colvin, Mark, and John Pauly. 1983. A critique of criminology: Toward an integrated structural-Marxist theory of delinquency production. American Journal of Sociology 89:513–551.

    DOI: 10.1086/227904Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critical review of criminological theory is presented followed by a formal statement of structural-Marxist theory. A set of expected empirical relationships derived from the theory is presented.

    Find this resource:

  • Messner, Steven, and Marvin Krohn. 1990. Class, compliance structures and delinquency. American Journal of Sociology 96:300–328.

    DOI: 10.1086/229531Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of structural-Marxist theory with cross-sectional, individual-level data from the Richmond Youth Project. The findings provide mixed support for the theory.

    Find this resource:

Cross-Level Theoretical Integration

Cross-level integration involves combining micro- and macro-level theories into a single, coherent, and unified theory. There is considerable debate over the feasibility of this type of integration. Existing cross-level theories involve social disorganization and conflict macro-level theories and social control and social learning micro-level theories.

Unified Conflict Theory

Vold and Bernard 1986 proposes a cross-level integration of social learning theory, social conflict theory, and social disorganization theory to explain variation in both individual criminal behavior and rates of crime in social groups and social systems. Variation in official rates of crime is explained by variation in individual behavior and variation in the enforcement of criminal law for different social groups or social systems. There are no formal tests of this theory.

  • Vold, George B., and Thomas J. Bernard. 1986. Theoretical criminology. 3d ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Unified conflict theory is described as both a theory of criminal law and a theory of criminal behavior. It proposes an explanation for differences in crime rates as a result of differences in the enactment and enforcement of criminal law and for differences in individual criminal behavior as a result of learned behavior responding to different structural conditions and processes operating in different social locations.

    Find this resource:

Power-Control Theory

Hagan, et al. 1985 describes power-control theory as a cross-level theory designed to explain gender differences in delinquency. It combines micro-level social control theory and macro-level power theory (conflict theory). The theory asserts that delinquency is the result of two types of dominance: the experience or exercise of control related to one’s relational position in the social structure (workplace) and controls exercised by parents in the family. These two types of dominance result in a greater deterrent effect of legal sanctions on females than males that accounts for lower female rates of common delinquency. This theory is elaborated and extended in Hagan, et al. 1987. Jensen and Thompson 1990, Morash and Chesney-Lind 1991, and Singer and Levine 1998 test this theory using macro-level data only and find mixed support for the theory.

  • Hagan, John, A. R. Gillis, and John Simpson. 1985. The class structure of gender and delinquency: Toward a power-control theory of common delinquent behavior. American Journal of Sociology 90:1151–1178.

    DOI: 10.1086/228206Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a class-based power-control theory of gender and delinquency. Class-related dominance in the workplace and family account for gender differences in delinquency rates and lead to variation in family bonding and particular socialization processes in the family that account for individual differences by gender. Postulates that the relationship between gender and common forms of delinquency declines with lower levels of class standing.

    Find this resource:

  • Hagan, John, John Simpson, and A. R. Gillis. 1987. Class in the household: A power-control theory of gender and delinquency. American Journal of Sociology 92:788–816.

    DOI: 10.1086/228583Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Power-control theory is extended to include a new model of class relations based on the relative positions of both mothers and fathers in the work place and authority relationships within the family.

    Find this resource:

  • Jensen, Gary F., and Kevin M. Thompson. 1990. What’s class got to do with it? A further examination of power-control theory. American Journal of Sociology 95:1009–1023.

    DOI: 10.1086/229383Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of power-control theory with macro-level data from three city surveys. The analysis provided no support for the theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Morash, Merry, and Meda Chesney-Lind. 1991. A reformulation and partial test of the power-control theory of delinquency. Justice Quarterly 8:347–377.

    DOI: 10.1080/07418829100091091Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A revised version of power-control theory is tested with data from the National Survey of Children. Results were inconsistent with expectations from power-control theory. Gender differences in delinquency were not related to family structure. The quality of relationships with parents and the family’s social class explained delinquency for both sexes.

    Find this resource:

  • Singer, S. I., and M. Levine. 1998. Power-control theory of gender and delinquency: A partial replication with additional evidence on the effects of peers. Criminology 26:627–647.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1988.tb00857.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of power-control theory that found gender and delinquency are related to parental authority at work in ways not consistent with the theory. Support was found for the postulated relationship between parental control and risk taking attitudes. Authors discuss how these findings can be reconciled with power-control theory.

    Find this resource:

Social Learning and Social Structure Theory

Akers 1998 proposed integrating social learning and social disorganization/anomie/social conflict theories. Social learning theory mediates social structural/cultural effects on individual behavior. The proposed integration involves an end-to-end theoretical structure, with social structure as the distal cause and social learning the proximate cause of delinquent behavior. The structural variables in the theory are not specific to a given macro-level theory. Bellair, et al. 2003; Lanza-Kaduce and Capece 2003; and Lee, et al. 2004 report on tests of the theory.

  • Akers, Ronald L. 1998. Social learning-social structure: A general theory of crime and deviance. Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Variation in the social structure and culture explain variation in crime rates and directly influence social learning processes that account for differences in individual involvement in criminal behavior.

    Find this resource:

  • Bellair, Paul E., Vincent J. Roscigno, and María B. Vélez. 2003. Occupational structure, social learning and adolescent violence. In Social learning theory and the explanation of crime: A guide for the new century. Edited by Ronald L. Akers and Gary F. Jensen, 197–225. Advances in Criminological Theory 11. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of social learning–social structural theory. Measures of social learning and family well-being partially mediated the impact of occupational structure on youth violence, providing partial support for the theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Lanza-Kaduce, Lonn, and Michael Capece. 2003. Social structure-social learning (SSSL) and binge drinking: A specific test of an integrated theory. In Social learning theory and the explanation of crime: A guide for the new century. Edited by Ronald L. Akers and Gary F. Jensen, 179–196. Advances in Criminological Theory 11. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of social learning–social structure theory that found social learning variables partially mediated the relationship between structural variables and adolescent binge drinking.

    Find this resource:

  • Lee, Gang, Ronald L. Akers, and Marian J. Borg. 2004. Social learning and structural factors in adolescent substance use. Western Criminology Review 5:17–34.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of social learning–social structure theory with cross-sectional data from the Boy’s Town Study of Alcohol and Substance Use using structural equation modeling. The findings were mixed.

    Find this resource:

Age-Graded Informal Control Theory

Sampson and Laub 1993 propose a cross-level theory that combines social disorganization, social control, and social learning theories. Crime is explained by characteristics of the structural context that are mediated by informal controls and learning processes in the family, school, and workplace. Changes in the nature and quality of formal and informal controls over the life course and by age account for changes in criminal behavior. The theory is cast in a developmental life course paradigm. Sampson and Laub 1997 extend the theory, adding components from labeling theory and the concept of cumulative disadvantage to the theory, and present a preliminary test of the theory. Bouffard 2003; Horney, et al. 1995; and Wright and Cullen 2004 report on tests of specific hypotheses from the theory.

  • Bouffard, Leana A. 2003. Examining the relationship between military service and criminal behavior during the Vietnam era. Criminology 41:491–510.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2003.tb00995.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A reanalysis of data from the Delinquency in a Birth Cohort and the Racine Birth Cohort studies to determine the effects of military service on later offending. Results indicate military service reduced offending in general but had no effect on later violent offending. The results are consistent with the theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Horney, Julie, D. Wayne Osgood, and Ineke Haen Marshall. 1995. Criminal careers in the short term: Intra-individual variability in crime and its relation to local life circumstances. American Sociological Review 60:655–673.

    DOI: 10.2307/2096316Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of month-to-month changes in informal and formal social controls and criminal behavior over a three-year period. A hierarchical linear modeling analysis indicated that short-term changes in behavior were strongly related to variation in local life circumstances, generally supportive of age-graded informal control theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Sampson, Robert J., and John Laub. 1993. Crime in the making: Pathways and turning points through life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A reanalysis of the longitudinal data from the Gluecks’s Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency data set, examining the stability and change in offending over the life course and the role of transitions into and out of social institutions like the family, school, marriage, and work. Changes in delinquency and adult crime are age-graded and responses to changes in the formal and informal controls present in these contexts.

    Find this resource:

  • Sampson, Robert J., and John Laub. 1997. A life course theory of cumulative disadvantage and the stability of delinquency. In Developmental theories of crime and delinquency. Edited by Terrence P. Thornberry, 133–161. Advances in Criminological Theory 7. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An extension of the age-graded informal control theory that adds a developmental version of labeling theory, focusing on the causal influence of prior delinquency and formal and informal responses to delinquency that results in a cumulative disadvantage and weakening of social controls.

    Find this resource:

  • Wright, J. P., and Francis Cullen. 2004. Employment, peers and life course transitions. Justice Quarterly 21:183–205.

    DOI: 10.1080/07418820400095781Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of age-graded informal control theory examining the effects of work-related friendships on delinquent peer networks, criminal behavior, and drug use. The results support the theory, finding that association with prosocial coworkers disrupts delinquent peer networks and reduces involvement in adult criminal behavior.

    Find this resource:

Critical Critiques of Integrated Theory

Akers and Sellers 2004 provide a general critique of integration, its purposes, structure, specific formulations, and its influence on criminological theory. Gibbs 1989 and Meier 1989 argue that advances in criminological theory await the resolution of several key issues, and integration, especially cross-level integration, is premature. There is a lively debate over the integration versus competition strategy for advancing criminological theory and the advantages and limitations of particular structures utilized in integrated theories. Hirschi 1979 and Hirschi 1989 make the case for competition and describe the limitations of specific structures, while Elliott, et al. 1979 and Elliott 1985 argue for integration and the utility of specific structures. Sampson 1999 critiques social learning–social structure theory and Akers 1999 responds.

  • Akers, Ronald L. 1999. Social learning and social structure: Reply to Sampson, Morash and Krohn. Theoretical Criminology 3:477–493.

    DOI: 10.1177/1362480699003004007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A response to the Sampson 1999 article and several other critical reviews of social learning–social structure theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Akers, Ronald L., and Christine Sellers. 2004. Criminological theories: Introduction, evaluation, and application. 4th ed. Los Angeles: Roxbury.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapter 12 provides a critical review of several specific theories involving propositional integration as well as a summary discussion on how successful theoretical integration has been in criminology. Provides a good review of the debate about the contribution of life-course criminology to theoretical integration and new theoretical development.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Delbert S. 1985. The assumption that theories can be combined with increased explanatory power. In Theoretical methods in criminology. Edited by Robert Meier, 123–149. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A response to the critique of integrated theory by Hirschi 1979. Reviews the assumptions and objectives driving the integration strategy, discusses the different structural arrangements typically proposed in specific versions of integrated theory, and rejects Hirschi’s criticism of these structures.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Delbert S., Suzanne S. Ageton, and Rachelle J. Cantor. 1979. An integrated theoretical perspective on delinquent behavior. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 16:3–27.

    DOI: 10.1177/002242787901600102Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critique of the competition strategy in theory development and arguing for integration as an alternative strategy, outlining its advantages.

    Find this resource:

  • Gibbs, Jack P. 1989. Three perennial issues in the sociology of deviance. In Theoretical integration in the study of deviance and crime: Problems and prospects. Edited by Steven F. Messner, Marvin D. Krohn, and Allen E. Liska, 179–196. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses three perennial issues in criminological theory: the criteria for assessing theories, the kinds of questions addressed, and the desired forms of construction. Consensus on these issues is viewed as an essential prerequisite for advancement in criminological theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Hirschi, Travis. 1979. Separate and unequal is better. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 16:34–37.

    DOI: 10.1177/002242787901600104Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critique of the integrated theory proposed by Elliott, et al. 1979. Describes three structural forms that integration can take and notes the limitations of each. Argues for theoretical competition as the better strategy for theory development and testing.

    Find this resource:

  • Hirschi, Travis. 1989. Exploring alternatives to integrated theory. In Theoretical integration in the study of deviance and crime: Problems and prospects. Edited by Steven F. Messner, Marvin D. Krohn, and Allen E. Liska, 37–49. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A general critique of the integrated theory strategy arguing that the competitive oppositional strategy to theory construction and testing is a better strategy than integration.

    Find this resource:

  • Meier, Robert F. 1989. Deviance and differentiation. In Theoretical integration in the study of deviance and crime: Problems and prospects. Edited by Steven F. Messner, Marvin D. Krohn, and Allen E. Liska, 199–212. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A discussion of issues that must be resolved before any cross-level integration can be achieved and questions the likelihood of any successful cross-level integration. The development of a meta-theory, a general orienting framework, is proposed as a prerequisite to formulating testable theories, and concepts that might be linked in a meta theory are discussed.

    Find this resource:

  • Sampson, Robert J. 1999. Techniques of research neutralization. Theoretical Criminology 3:438–450.

    DOI: 10.1177/1362480699003004004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critique of Akers’s social learning–social structure theory as including a potpourri of macro-structural variables but no specific theoretical formulation that ties them to social learning theory in a coherent explanation.

    Find this resource:

LAST MODIFIED: 07/24/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396607-0135

back to top

Article

Up

Down