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General Strain Theory

General Strain Theory

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General Strain Theory

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  1. General Strain Theory Part II

  2. Final Exam • Final examinations are scheduled according to when the lecture meets • • MAY 6 (8:00am-10:00am)

  3. “Everything Men Know About Women” • Alan Francis

  4. Final Paper • Interview (design questions) • Consent form • How to conduct an interview

  5. Agnew (1992) and GST • General strain theory (GST) • Agnew postulated that strain does not need to be specifically tied to economic status because it is actually a psychological reaction to any perceived negative aspect of one's social environment

  6. GST • Hypothetically, individuals from all social classes could engage in criminal behavior because they could all experience negative emotions arising from strain

  7. Robert Agnew’s General Strain Theory (1992) • Anger has a significant impact on all measures of crime and deviance Strain ANGER Criminal Behavior

  8. What are Strains? • Strains refer to events or conditions that are disliked by most individuals

  9. Three major types of strain • Failure to achieve positively valued goals • Loss of positive stimuli • Presentation of negative stimuli

  10. Failure to achieve positively valued goals • Gap between expectations and actual achievements (not always long-term)

  11. Loss of positive stimuli • Moving to a new city/school • Parental divorce • Death of a relative/close friend • Break Up

  12. Presentation of negative stimuli • Peer pressure • Physical /emotional abuse) • Stress, bullying and depression ranked one, two and three respectively in a list of incidents as reported by elementary, middle and high school students.

  13. Gallup's Study (2006) • Used mail and Web surveys with a randomly selected national sample of 480 teenagers in The Gallup Panel of households, aged 13 to 17

  14. Problems as reported by US students

  15. Problems as reported by US students

  16. GST • While GST posited that each type of strain ultimately lead to deviance for slightly different reasons, all three types were thought to increase the likelihood that an individual would experience negative emotions in proportion to the magnitude, duration, and recency of the stress

  17. Agnew’s Theory Factors affecting disposition to delinquency Strain ANGER Criminal Behavior Constraints to delinquent behavior

  18. Links Between Strain and Crime • Anger was found to incite a person to action, and create a desire for revenge • Crime allows individuals to obtain revenge against those who have wronged them • Crime may allow individuals to alleviate their negative emotions

  19. Coping with strain through crime • Why are some people more likely than other to cope with strains through crime? • Bad temper • Low self-control • Previous delinquent behavior • Delinquent friends • If the initial goals are high and they have few alternative goals to fall back on, then the person may be more prone to committing delinquent acts

  20. Coping Strategies Other Than Crime • Crime is not the only way that people will respond to strain • There are three different types of coping strategies that enable the individual to deal with the strain in their life through legitimate means • Cognitive • Emotional • Behavioral

  21. Cognitive coping strategies • Enable the individual to rationalize the stressors in three ways (Agnew, 1992) • Minimize the importance of the strain by placing less importance on a particular goal • Maximizing the positive while minimizing the negative outcomes of an event. This is an attempt to ignore the fact that there has been a negative event • Accept the outcomes of the negative outcomes as fair

  22. Behavioral coping strategies • Individuals may actively seek out positive stimuli (social support from friends and relatives) • Try to escape negative stimuli • In addition, individuals may actively seek out revenge in a non-delinquent manner (Agnew, 1992:69)

  23. Emotional coping strategies • Relaxation methods • Sport • Meditation

  24. GST and gender differences in crime • The levels and types of strain could be different for girls and for boys • Boys and girls may have different responses to the same strain • Gender variation in conditioning effects (gender differences in dealing/coping with strain)

  25. The levels and types of strain • Boys are more likely than are girls to experience strain because of negative peer relations that are marked by conflict, competition, jealousy, and imbalance • Girls are especially susceptible to strain caused by problems in forming and maintaining positive relationships with family and friends

  26. Different responses to the same strain • Consistent with gender socialization, when facing stressors, males would be more likely to behave aggressively • Females would be more likely to engage in more passive and self-destructive forms of delinquency, such as running away form home, alcohol use, etc.

  27. Sex differences in emotional responses

  28. Research on Aggression • Females use aggression as often as adolescent males • Different events produce aggression • Females’ aggression manifests in different behaviors • Unlike boys, girls typically shun physical aggression, but they use gossip, ridicule, exclusion and other forms of relational aggression, particularly toward other females

  29. Relational aggression? • “Mean Girls” • “Thirteen”

  30. Sex differences in coping strategies • Females employ escape and avoidance methods to relieve the strain • Females have stronger relational ties that might help to reduce strain (social support) • Males are lower in social control, and they socialize in large, hierarchical peer groups where they need to maintain their status • Therefore, males are more likely to respond to strain with crime (Agnew 1997).

  31. (Cauce et al., 1994; Cotterell, 1996) • Females have more intimate friendships • Most of the friends females describe are other girls • Females consistently report that… • they spend more time with friends; • expect and receive more kindness, commitment, and empathy from them; • have more open, intimate, and disclosing relationships

  32. Friendship • Significantly more females than males favor activities that involve intimate discussions • Similarly, a significantly larger proportion of males described a close male friend as someone who did not express his true feelings to them and from whom they hid their feelings • Other research suggests that adolescent males may regret the lack of intimacy in their same-sex friendships but accept it as the norm (Way, 1996).

  33. GST: relationship between race and crime • Multiple strains: poverty, disruptive families, compromised parenting, deficient schooling, discrimination, injustice, victimization, violence

  34. Empirical support • Numerous tests of GST had also examined the relationship between strain and negative emotion, yielding mixed results • Several studies had found strain-induced anger to be the primary negative emotion to exert a significant effect on deviance (Broidy, 2001 and Piquero and Sealock, 2000).

  35. Policy Recommendations • Agnew proposed several different programs to reduce delinquency which have shown success after being implemented

  36. Policy Recommendations • Family-based programs are designed to teach the members how to solve problems in a constructive manner, and parents are taught how to effectively discipline their children (Agnew, 1995) • This will reduce the amount of negative emotions that result from conflict in the family and will decrease the amount of strain in the home

  37. Policy Recommendations • School-based programs seek to improve relations in and between schools • Peer based programs seek to reduce the amount of strain that an adolescent feels as a result of relationships with peers • Relationships with peers can be negative when the peers are delinquent or when they are physically or verbally abusive toward other peers