Exploring the Relationship between Low Self-Control, Social Learning, and Cybercrime

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Over the last decade, criminological scholarship has primarily used measures derived from Akers (1998) social learning theory and Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) general theory of crime to account for various cybercrimes. These studies have found substantive support for both theories with various forms of cybercrime including digital piracy and computer hacking. An emerging body of research has found a suppression effect between these theories such that involvement in a social learning process may reduce the significance of self control for both hacking and digital piracy. It is unclear if the relationships identified may be an artifact of the data sets used, thereby requiring replication in order to assess the validity of this relationship. In order to expand our knowledge of this issue, we will use structural equation modeling to examine both the direct effect of low self-control and its indirect effect via a fuller measure of the social learning process with multiple forms of cybercrime in a sample of juveniles. The findings clarify our understanding of both computer hacking and the empirical validity of criminological theories as a whole.


American Society of Criminology


Chicago, IL