CitationWolfe, Scott E. & Hoffmann, John P. (2016). On the Measurement of Low Self-Control in Add Health and NLSY79. Psychology, Crime & Law. vol. 22 (7) pp. 619-650
AbstractLimited attention has been devoted to the dimensionality of the low self-control scales commonly constructed in two nationally representative datasets routinely used to test self-control theory?Add Health and NLSY79. We assess the measurement properties of the low self-control scales by comparing a series of exploratory and confirmatory models that are appropriate for the categorical nature of the observed items, including unidimensional, correlated factors, second-order factor, and bifactor models. Additionally, based on these results we explore the predictive validity of the respective scales on adolescents? delinquent behavior. The results indicate that the low self-control scales in these data have acceptable levels of internal consistency but do not represent unidimensional latent factors. Rather, scales are best represented by a second-order factor structure. When measured this way, our Add Health scale is associated with delinquency in a cross-sectional context and our NLSY79 scale predicts delinquency longitudinally. This study reveals that low self-control is best conceptualized as a multidimensional construct within these data. The results of this study provide guidance to researchers measuring low self-control in either dataset (or other data sources) and inform the larger self-control theory measurement literature.
Keyword(s)low self-control measurement crime NLSY NATIONALLY REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitlePsychology, Crime & Law
Author(s)Wolfe, Scott E.
Hoffmann, John P.