Objectives: The purpose of this study is twofold. First, this study assesses the extent to which self-control and maternal attachment mutually influence one another. Second, it investigates whether this process continues to occur during adolescence. To date, studies of the etiology of self-control have yet to adequately address these issues, despite the fact that a number of theoretical perspectives emphasize the reciprocal nature of the parent-child relationship. Methods: The current study seeks to shed light on these issues by examining the relationship between self-control and maternal attachment using structural equation modeling for eight waves of data spanning a period of time that encompasses early childhood through middle adolescence. Results: The results yield two findings bearing on the adequacy of Gottfredson and Hirschi's model of self-control development. First, measures of self-control and maternal attachment were found to mutually influence one another during childhood. Second, these effects were reduced to nonsignificance during adolescence. Conclusions: This study finds that self-control emerges during childhood in a complex manner in which it both shapes and is shaped by parental attachment.
- Child effects
- Reciprocal effects
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine