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NCJ Number: 136257 Find in a Library
Title: Foundation for a General Strain Theory of Crime and Delinquency
Journal: Criminology  Volume:30  Issue:1  Dated:(February 1992)  Pages:47-87
Author(s): R Agnew
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 41
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper presents a general strain theory of crime and delinquency that is capable of overcoming the criticisms of previous strain theories.
Abstract: Strain theory is different from social control and social learning theory in its specification of the type of social relationship that leads to delinquency and the motivation for delinquency. Strain theory focuses explicitly on negative relationships with others, relationships in which individuals are not treated as they want to be treated. Strain theory also argues that adolescents are pressured into delinquency by negative affective states, most notably anger and related emotions. Three major types of strain theory are described: (1) strain as the actual or anticipated failure to achieve positively valued goals; (2) strain as the actual or anticipated removal of positively valued stimuli; and (3) strain as the actual or anticipated presentation of negative valued stimuli. Guidelines for measuring strain are presented, major adaptations to strain are described, and factors influencing the choice of delinquent versus nondelinquent adaptations are discussed. Strain theory is considered to be the only major theory that focuses explicitly on negative relationships with others and to argue that delinquency results from the negative effects caused by such relationships. As such, it complements social control and differential association/social learning theory in a fundamental way. 162 references
Main Term(s): Strain theory
Index Term(s): Crime causes theory; Juvenile delinquency factors; Social control; Social Learning; Society-crime relationships
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