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NCJ Number: 211646 Find in a Library
Title: Explaining Crime for a Young Adult Population: An Application of General Strain Theory
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:33  Issue:5  Dated:September/October 2005  Pages:463-476
Author(s): Michael K. Ostrowsky; Steven F. Messner
Date Published: September 2005
Page Count: 14
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study assessed the utility of general strain theory for explaining criminal behavior among young adults.
Abstract: Strain theory has a long tradition in the study of crime and deviance. It was reborn in 1992 as general strain theory (GST) focusing primarily on adolescents. Few studies examined college-age youth. It was determined that there was an empirical void to be filled. This study attempts to begin to fill this empirical void by examining the determinants of offending for a sample of young adult respondents aged 20 to 29. A model was developed and applied that included measures of strain as traditionally conceptualized, as well as measures associated with the “general” version of strain theory. The objective was to assess the utility of strain measures for understanding criminal offending. Data for the study came from the National Youth Survey (NYS) which was a panel study of delinquency and drug use based on a nationally representative sample of respondents in the United States. The results were reasonably supportive of GST. The strain measures tended to have stronger and more consistent effects on violent crime than property crime. The analyses were able to determine whether the distal determinants of criminal behavior highlighted by GST affected offending for a relatively neglected segment of the population and whether a measure of common forms of depression was interrelated with strain and offending in theoretically predicted ways for the young adult populations. Appendix and references
Main Term(s): Crime causes theory
Index Term(s): Crime prediction; Criminology; Determinist theory; Deviance; Psychological theories; Strain theory; Young Adults (18-24)
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