The Impact of Low Self-Control and Risky Lifestyles on Juvenile Victimization



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Since its inception, the general theory of crime has been applied in many ways and in numerous contexts to explore criminal offending. It has also been utilized to explain why certain people are more likely to experience criminal victimization. Research, however, has found that self-control’s effect on victimization is modest overall, indicating that other variables play a role in this relationship. Relatively few studies have explored how aspects of a risky lifestyle influence the self-control/victimization relationship, and fewer still have explored the mediating effect of risky lifestyles in this context. This study tests the mediating effects of risky lifestyles on the self-control/victimization relationship in a sample of over 2,000 American juveniles. Data from the International Self-Report Delinquency Study (ISRD-2) are utilized, which asked respondents about lifestyle characteristics, involvement in delinquency, and their victimization experiences. Results indicate that self-control does indeed have an effect on victimization chance among this sample, and that risky lifestyles partially mediate the effects of low self-control on victimization. These findings are consistent with the extant literature in this area, and uniquely contributes through its examination of three types of victimization: violent, theft, and bullying.



Victimization, Juvenile victimization, Low self-control, Risky lifestyles, Mediating effect, General theory of crime