Self-Control, Accidents, and Crime

Marianne Junger, Richard E. Tremblay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

60 Citations (Scopus)


According to self-control theory, crime and accident involvement are positively related. Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) argued that this relation is spurious and results from the fact that both accidents and crime are the result of a lack of self-control. In particular, they argued that a positive relation is supportive of their theory and cannot be explained by competing theories, such as strain or cultural deviance theory. This study explored two questions: (a) Is there a relation between crime and accidents? (b) Is there support for the spuriousness thesis, that is, can the relation between crime and accident involvement be accounted for by a measure of self-control or by a measure of social control? The answer to both questions was largely affirmative. There was a relatively strong positive relation between crime and accidents, with delinquents more involved than nondelinquents in accidents. The analysis also showed that, although measures of self-control and social control were related to delinquency and to accident involvement, the relation between crime and accidents became weaker when these measures were taken into account, but it did not disappear. Thus, the spuriousness thesis was partially supported
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)485-501
JournalCriminal justice and behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • IR-95365

Cite this