Parental and peer characteristics as modifiers of the bond-behavior relationship: an elaboration of control theory

J Health Soc Behav. 1992 Mar;33(1):66-76.


Three bonds are at the core of Hirschi's control theory: attachment to parents, commitment to conventional activities, and belief in the conventional rules of society. Control theory does not include parental and peer attitudes and behaviors, variables that frequently are implicated in adolescent behavior. This study examines whether parental and peer behaviors and attitudes modify bond/behavior relationships. Adolescent cigarette smoking is the behavior of interest. Panel data from a probability sample of 685 adolescents shows that the relationship between attachment and adolescent smoking is modified by parental smoking; the relationship between commitment to conventional activities and adolescent smoking is modified by father's smoking; but the relationship between belief in conventional rules and adolescent smoking is not modified by parental or peer variables. We conclude that control theory needs to encompass parental behavior when considering adolescent smoking behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Attitude
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Object Attachment*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Peer Group
  • Smoking*