The compensatory effects of inner and outer controls

Helmut Hirtenlehner, Gorazd Mesko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Internal and external controls have been firmly established as factors restraining criminal activity, but surprisingly little is known about their concrete interplay. Inspired by recent theoretical developments, such as Situational Action Theory or the life-course model of interdependence, this work addresses the question whether the crime-reducing impact of outer controls is conditioned by the level of inner controls. Analyses of a student survey from Slovenia reveal that external regulatory mechanisms exercise a greater effect when internal restraints decrease in size. This finding points to a compensatory relationship between controls located in different domains. Inner and outer controls may substitute for one another to a certain extent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-707
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Criminology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Situational Action Theory
  • control theories
  • juvenile delinquency
  • person–environment interaction

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