Revisiting the Person-Context Nexus: An Empirical Test of a Revised Trait Suppression Hypothesis
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Given mixed findings concerning the interaction of neighborhood disadvantage and self-control in understanding crime and delinquency, this work develops a revised theory to explain the conditional effect of self-control across neighborhoods while drawing on existing social psychological and criminological theory. This revised trait hypothesis posits (1) the level of crime is uniformly high and low in high and low disadvantage neighborhoods, respectively, and (2) that the effect of self-control in both high and low disadvantage neighborhoods is attenuated relative to the effect of self-control in medium disadvantage neighborhoods. The revised theory is tested using panel data collected from a sample serious youth offenders using multiple analytic approaches. While the first prediction is supported, the data fail to support the second. A number of explanations for the lack of full support are considered, and it is concluded that self-control and neighborhood disadvantage exert independent effects on crime in this sample.