Child abuse, self-control, and delinquency: A general strain perspective

Jackson M. Bunch, Amaia Iratzoqui, Stephen J. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study examined the independent effects of child abuse on self-control and delinquency and explored whether self-control mediates the child abuse-delinquency relationship. Methods: We employed path modeling in Mplus to examine the relationship between child abuse, self-control, and delinquency using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Results: Net of theoretically important controls, child abuse has direct and indirect effects on delinquency, and the relationship is partially explained by low self-control. Conclusions: Child abuse has an independent influence on levels of self-control, supporting a proposition made by general strain theory, and self-control partially mediates the oft-observed relationship between child abuse and delinquency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Add health
  • Child abuse
  • Delinquency
  • General strain theory
  • Self-control


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