Morality, self-control, and crime

Olena Antonaccio, Charles R. Tittle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


This paper offers evidence to specify further Self-Control Theory by investigating its predictive strength relative to morality and its interconnections with morality in accounting for criminal probability. Using random sample household survey data from Lviv, Ukraine, we confirm that self-control is an important predictor of criminal probabilities in an unusual cultural context. However, morality is also shown to be a strong independent predictor with strength that seems to exceed substantially that of self-control. In addition, taking morality into account significantly reduces the coefficients for self-control, sometimes eliminating them entirely, and morality shows little interaction with self-control in its predictions of the measures of criminal probability. The results suggest that the recently formulated Situational Action Theory, which features (weak) morality as the prime cause of criminal behavior and questions the relative importance of self-control, should be taken seriously. Overall, the results confirm the importance of self-control as a factor in misbehavior; yet, they also provide a mandate for greater attention to morality as a potent variable in understanding misconduct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-510
Number of pages32
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Morality
  • Self-Control Theory
  • Situational Action Theory
  • Ukraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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