An empirical test of norm-containment theory as applied to criminal behavior
Rohde, Clemente Ignacio
Master of Arts
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Norm-containment theory (Reckless, 1961a, 1961b, 1962, 1967; Reckless and Dinitz, 1967; Reckless and Shoham, 1963) postulates that there are two containing buffers which steer the individual away from delinquency: inner-containment and outer-containment. Inner-containment is a form of internal control exercised by the individual over himself; the theory states that the internal control is essentially composed of a 'good' self-concept and also a high degree of self-control, tolerance, and a high sense of responsibility. Outer-containment refers to the degree of external control exercised over the individual by the family; the latter is more effective when the family provides the individual with an opportunity for acceptance and belongingness. The hypotheses that norm-containment theory advances in the explanation of criminal behavior were examined.