Prior research suggests that legal orientations (or domains of legal socialization), such as legitimacy and legal cynicism, influence compliance with the law (or criminal offending). The aim of this study was to assess a potential threat to the internal validity of these findings. Specifically, the authors test whether one potential confounder, low self-control, attenuates the observed effects of legal orientations on self-reported criminal offending. Using cross-sectional survey data from 626 adult participants, the results of regression models show that criminal offending is significantly shaped by both legal cynicism and legitimacy, even after taking into account individual variations in self-control. In short, the findings demonstrate that legitimacy and legal cynicism exert direct independent effects on law-violating behavior and that these relationships are not confounded by low self-control.
- legal cynicism
- legal socialization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine