It’s time: A meta-analysis on the self-control-deviance link


Vazsonyi, Alexander T.; Mikuška, Jakub; & Kelley, Erin L. (2017). It's time: A meta-analysis on the self-control-deviance link. Journal of Criminal Justice. vol. 48 pp. 48-63


Purpose The current meta-analysis examines the link between self-control and measures of crime and deviance, taking stock of the empirical status of self-control theory and focusing on work published between 2000 and 2010. Methods A total of 796 studies were reviewed for inclusion/exclusion criteria and yielded a final study sample of 99 studies (88 cross-sectional and 19 longitudinal effect sizes, analyzed separately). Random effects mean correlations between self-control and deviance were analyzed for cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, respectively. Publication bias was assessed using multiple methods. Results A random effects mean correlation between self-control and deviance was Mr = 0.415 for cross-sectional studies and Mr = 0.345 for longitudinal ones; this effect did not significantly differ by study design. Studies with more male participants, studies based on older or US-based populations, and self-report studies found weaker effects. Conclusions Substantial empirical support was found for the main argument of self-control theory and on the transdisciplinary link between self-control and measures of crime and deviance. In contrast to Pratt and Cullen, but consistent with theory, the effect from cross-sectional versus longitudinal studies did not significantly differ. There was no evidence of publication bias.



Crime Delinquency Self-control theory General theory of crime Self-regulation

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Journal of Criminal Justice


Vazsonyi, Alexander T.
Mikuška, Jakub
Kelley, Erin L.

Year Published


Volume Number





January 9, 2017



Reference ID