Future Selves and Self-Control Motivation

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22 Scopus citations


Self-control is well established as a predictor of crime and deviance. Little is known, however, about the motivation to exert self-control, or the degree to which individuals perceive self-control to be relevant or necessary. This is because the "self" in self-control theory is under-theorized. We argue that self-control over criminal and deviant behavior is influenced by the desired and feared conceptions people have of themselves in the future. We argue that people's projections of their future selves engender commitments to lines of action, which mobilize the motivation to exercise self-control. By developing a more detailed conception of the "self" in self-control theory, we hope to orient criminology more fully to the importance of individuals' projected future selves and intended lines of action for understanding the relationship between self-control and criminal behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-714
Number of pages16
JournalDeviant Behavior
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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