Low Self-Control in “Bad” Neighborhoods: Assessing the Role of Context on the Relationship Between Self-Control and Crime

Gregory M. Zimmerman, Ekaterina V. Botchkovar, Olena Antonaccio, Lorine A. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Although a wealth of research has substantiated the relationship between self-control and offending independent of an array of theoretically relevant covariates, little is known about the contextual variability of this relationship. Our study contributes to the literature by assessing neighborhood variability in the explanatory effect of self-control on individual offending in two Eastern European cities: Lviv, Ukraine and Nizhni Novgorod, Russia. Using data elicited from interviews with 1,431 respondents across 41 neighborhoods, we examine the extent to which the relationship between self-control and offending is moderated by neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES), and investigate the role of illegal opportunities and neighborhood morality as intervening processes accounting for the cross-level interaction between self-control and neighborhood SES. Estimates from hierarchical linear models indicate that self-control effects on offending are contingent upon ecological characteristics. However, neighborhood morality, and not neighborhood SES or neighborhood opportunities for crime, is a direct moderator of these effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-84
Number of pages29
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015



  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • morality
  • neighborhoods
  • self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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