Marriage can potentially help reduce crime by enabling people to develop greater self-control, according to a new study examining changes in marital status, self-control and marijuana use between late adolescence and early adulthood. The study by Dr Walter Forrest, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Monash University and Associate Professor Carter Hay, from Florida State University found that young marijuana users who went on to marry were less likely to have continued using the drug than those who remained single. The research also uncovered a key reason for the change was that those who married also experienced significant improvements in self-control. “Self-control is one of the strongest predictors of differences between people in terms of their involvement in crime,” said Dr Forrest.
…This latest study indicates that the link is due in part to the effects of marriage on self-control. “Our study shows that improvements in a person’s level of self-control are related to changes in their involvement in crime over time. It also shows that marriage is a significant source of those improvements,” said Dr Forrest.