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In their 2011 study, Representative Sample, Miller, Barnes, and Beaver sought to understand how adolescents' poor self-control relates to health problems in their early adult years. According to research, those with poor self-control as adolescents are more likely to commit offenses as young adults. (Duckworth, 2011). This is because a lack of self-control is linked to a variety of undesirable behaviors, including substance abuse, reckless driving, and early sexual activity. Such actions put a person at risk for criminal activity as well as for problems with their physical and emotional health. In order to achieve their aim, Miller, Barnes & Beaver (2011) collected their data through a longitudinal research across the nation. The data was analyzed using logistic regression and which indicated that people with low self-esteem were more likely to be diagnosed with 9 out of 10 health issues that they were studying, They therefore conclude that is self-control is enhanced during childhood it would be possible for adolescents to prevent themselves from multiple health issues in young adulthood. This paper aims to critique the work of Miller et al (2011) thereby coming up with a solid evidence regarding the implication of their research.
Summary of the Theory
The general theory of crimes by Gottfredson and Hirschi was applied by Miller et al (2011) to guide in their research. This theory is sometimes referred to as the self-control theory of crimes; according to its proponents the theory can be used to explain crime activities at all times since it predicts analogous behaviors such as accidents and divorce. The basic concepts of the general theory of crimes include the criminal behavior and self-control. It holds that low self-control is the basic prerequisite for committing crime (Burt & Simons, 2013).
The central point of the theory is the act of crime which in this case is defined not in legal terms but as ‘acts of force or fraud undertaken in pursuit of self-interest’ (Marcus, 2004). The proponents of the theory further holds that acts of crime are usually; trivial and banal; requires on a short preparation; I comprised of less permanent consequence and in most cases does not produce the results that the individual wished to achieve. They also offered a definition of criminality which is the propensities of an individual to commit a crime. Since criminal acts results in immediate satisfaction people with low self-esteem are likely to commit crime because often time they are unable to see the long-term effects of their actions (Mann & Ward, 2007).
Lastly, the theory is regarded as a control theory because it holds that initially children do not vary with regards to the level of self-control that they have. However as they grow family factors start shaping their self-control. Parents with proper parenting skills such as providing discipline to the child may help children to develop a strong self-control thereby avoiding crimes in future (Friedman & Kern, 2014).
The dependent variables for the study included health related outcomes comprising of physical health such as high-cholesterol, asthma, diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure. The mental health issues such as ADHD, depression, mental illness, stuttering and poor hearing were also part pf the dependent variables. These variables were measured using self-reports that asked the individuals if they had ever been diagnosed with any of the aforementioned health issues. On the other hand the independent variable in this study is self-control. This variable was measured by the researches using a self-report questionnaire developed by Schroeder known as the habitual self-control (HSC) and contains 10 items; which was administered to the parents. The questionnaire contained questions that could be answered within a range of scale and after statistical analysis of the response the level of self-control could be determined. Demographic variables including the age of the respondents, their gender and race were measured using questionnaire. Also, the researchers had control variables which was the polydrug use index which was meant to mediate on the effects of drug abuse on outcome variables. Control variables were also measured using self-report questionnaire.
Type of Data
The type of data collected by the researchers were quantitative including both discrete data such as number of respondents with health issues and the continuous measurements including the age of the respondents. In addition, the demographic data such as gender and race were also measured. All these data were collected using self-report questionnaires. The researchers obtained their sample by stratified method on individuals enrolled in middle and high school levels in the United States.
Testing the Research Hypothesis
The researchers had hypothesized that low self-control results in physical and mental health problems in early adulthood. In order to test the hypothesis five basic steps were utilized. The first step included making assumptions. The researchers assumed a normal population by using stratified random sampling. The second step was formation of the null and the alternative hypothesis. The research hypothesis as mention earlier was that there is a relationship between low self-control and physical and mental health problems in late adulthood. The null hypothesis was therefore that there is no relationship between low self-control and the health problems. The third step was specifying the statistic test and selection of sampling distribution. Fourth, the test statistic was computed using regression analysis. Lastly, the results of the research was determined based on the research hypothesis. The null hypothesis was rejected.
Discussion of the Results
The researchers found that low self-control increased the chances of a person resulting in four of the health issue hence rejected the null hypothesis. Also, the researchers found that polydrug use had no significant influence on thee self-control of the respondents. This research is significant to both theory and research. It helps in reaffirming the general theory of self-control hence increasing its efficacy. Also the research fills a certain gap and adds to the body of the available research. Furthermore, future researchers can study issues that have been suggested in this article.
Burt, C. H., & Simons, R. L. (2013). Self-control, thrill seeking, and crime: motivation matters. Criminal justice and behavior, 40(11), 1326-1348.
Duckworth, A. L. (2011). The significance of self-control. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(7), 2639-2640.
Friedman, H. S., & Kern, M. L. (2014). Personality, well-being, and health. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 719-742.
Mann, T., & Ward, A. (2007). Attention, self-control, and health behaviors. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(5), 280-283.
Marcus, B. (2004). Self-control in the general theory of crime: Theoretical implications of a measurement problem. Theoretical criminology, 8(1), 33-55.
Miller, H. V., Barnes, J. C., & Beaver, K. M. (2011). Self-control and health outcomes in a nationally representative sample. American journal of health behavior, 35(1), 15-27.
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