Can the general theory of crime account for computer offenders: Testing low self-control as a predictor of computer crime offending
Foster, David Robert
Simpson, Sally S
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Using self-report measures of attitudinal and behavioral self-control, this study tests the applicability of Gottfredson and Hirschi's theory of low self-control as it applies to self-reported computer crime offending among a college student sample. Computer crime was found to be relatively common, with more than ninety-five percent of the sample reported having engaged in some form of illegal computer activity. The results offer moderate support for Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory of crime, finding direct and positive effects for self-control and opportunity on computer offending, but not for the interaction between self-control and opportunity. The prevalence of computer-related offending is discussed in the context of the growing need to address the serious and widespread nature of computer crime. The study concludes by discussing the empirical and theoretical fit between the components of low self control, opportunity, and computer crime, as well as directions for future research.