Inadequate Personality Theory Vs Social Control Theory

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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Inadequate Personality Theory Vs Social Control Theory

The essay will compare and contrast Inadequate Personality Theory and Social Control Theory, two significant concepts in psychology and criminology. It will explore the origins, main propositions, and applications of each theory, highlighting their differences and similarities. The focus will be on how each theory explains deviant behavior and its implications for understanding and addressing criminal conduct. The piece aims to provide a thorough analysis of these theories to deepen the understanding of behavioral science and criminal psychology. At PapersOwl too, you can discover numerous free essay illustrations related to Personality.

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“Inadequate Personality Theory”

The Inadequate Personality Theory refers to individuals lacking self-esteem who struggle significantly to cope in life. These individuals often turn to alternative methods to drown out feelings of failure, such as the use of drugs. The more inadequate a personality, the higher the likelihood of becoming addicted to drug usage. People with an Inadequate Personality disorder “tend to be sporadic narcotic users who do not become either physiologically or psychologically dependent upon the drugs” (1980). The drug triggers a strong sense of pleasure, giving the individual a rush that makes them feel elated.

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Consequently, they don’t have to worry about fitting in with the rest of the world or the thought of failure because, in that moment, they’re on top of the world.

Most people with an inadequate personality disorder can be counselled on substance usage, because most are not dependent on the drug. Having someone to discuss it with them, guiding the person towards refraining from drug use while maintaining happiness can be beneficial. This could be as straightforward as a one-on-one counseling session or even an AA meeting.

Social Control Theory

The Social Control Theory discusses how delinquent and criminal behavior in kids, caused by low self-control, is often the result of poor and inadequate parenting. Research has found that a child’s attachment to a parent can significantly impact their involvement in criminal activities. This is because children are highly likely to adopt their parents’ views and behaviors. Consequently, if the parents are involved in drug usage, or if the parent-child relationship lacks a strong bond, there’s a higher probability of the child engaging in criminal behavior.

Research has found that young people who exhibited less violent behavior were more likely to hold stronger attachments to their parents. Furthermore, it was found that parental attachment lowered the likelihood of intimate violence in a sample of 1,139 students. The findings of these studies support the concept that the role of parental attachments can play a part in insulating young people from criminal activity (2016, June).


In comparing the two, I believe they are both strong theories. In everyday life, I can understand how they align with the inadequate personality theory—people resorting to drugs to elicit feelings other than inadequacy—and the social control theory, where issues or lack of parent-child bonding lead to delinquency. I have witnessed both of these scenarios in reality. I’ve seen people I’m close to behave recklessly, resulting in police involvement, and completely disregard their parents’ advice. I’ve also watched individuals turn to drugs to alleviate life’s pressures and create feelings of elation. However, I tend to agree more with the Inadequate Personality Theory, as people don’t develop physiological or psychological dependencies, and counselling—often termed ‘talk therapy’—is an effective treatment. Making a bond between a parent and a child is more challenging if the child has already ventured onto the criminal path.

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Inadequate Personality Theory Vs Social Control Theory. (2022, Aug 17). Retrieved from