skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 185287 Find in a Library
Title: Generalizing General Strain Theory: An Examination of an Offending Population
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:17  Issue:3  Dated:September 2000  Pages:449-484
Author(s): Nicole Leeper Piquero; Miriam D. Sealock
Editor(s): Finn-Aage Esbensen
Date Published: September 2000
Page Count: 36
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study investigated the generality of general strain theory (GST) by exploring the operation of general strain in an offending population, based on data obtained from self-report interviews of approximately 150 young people who had been adjudicated for a variety of offenses and who had all been identified as chemically abusing or dependent.
Abstract: Young people participating in the study were detained at juvenile detention facilities in a mid-Atlantic State between 1992 and 1994. Most of the young people committed major property felonies, misdemeanors, or felonious assaults. The remaining offenses included burglaries, drug felonies, possession of hard drugs, status offenses, murder, rape, or arson. Interviews were conducted with the young people to examine crime-engendering variables such as strain and negative affect and strain-exacerbating and strain-alleviating variables such as peer delinquency, family communication, and coping skills. The study also included control variables to control for the possible influence of sex, race, age, and number of prior arrests. Findings revealed support for GST in that overall effects of principal variables were largely in the direction predicted by the theory. Promising support was found for the hypothesized influence of specific forms of negative affect, namely anger, in predicting interpersonal aggression but not property offending. The other measure of negative affect, namely depression, failed to exert a significant additive effect on either interpersonal or property offending. Interaction analyses between coping skills and negative affect did not particularly support GST except in two instances, where emotional and spiritual coping skills inhibited the effect of depression on property offending. Finally, the additive effect of strain remained significant even with controls for negative affect, coping skills, and several interactions. It appeared the relationship between strain and negative affect varied according to offense type, and young people who reported higher levels of social coping skills also reported engaging in both property offending and interpersonal aggression. Implications of the findings for future research on the generalizability of GST are discussed. An appendix contains the scale items used in the study. 71 references and 6 tables
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency research
Index Term(s): Aggression; Criminal justice research; Criminology theory evaluation; Juvenile delinquency theory; Juvenile drug abusers; Juvenile drug use; Juvenile offenders; Psychological research; Self-report studies; Strain theory
Note: Earlier version of paper presented at meetings of the American Society of Criminology, 1997, San Diego.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.