Childhood self-control key to crime prevention

08 January 2012

Enhanced self-control during childhood could reduce government expenditure on crime control and education.

These findings by Drs Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi were presented at a public lecture hosted by UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative. Moffitt and Caspi, both psychologists, are involved in a long-term study, which has been tracking the development of the 1,037 babies born in Dunedin in 1972.

Children with poor self-control are more likely to commit crimes as adults.

"Of those with the lowest childhood self-control, nearly 50% had been convicted of a crime," reports Caspi. In the classroom these children require more "teacher effort" compared to their more self-controlled peers.

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