AN EMPIRICAL TEST OF GENERAL STRAIN THEORY

ROBERT AGNEW, HELENE RASKIN WHITE

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Abstract

This paper tests Agnew's (1992) general strain theory (GST) of crime and delinquency. GST argues that strain occurs when others (1) prevent or threaten to prevent you from achieving positively valued goals, (2) remove or threaten to remove positively valued stimuli that you possess, or (3) present or threaten to present you with noxious or negatively valued stimuli. The impact of such strain on delinquency is said to be conditioned by several variables, such as association with delinquent peers and self‐efficacy. Data from a sample of 1,380 New Jersey adolescents provide qualified support for the theory; strain measures of the type described above have a relatively substantial effect on delinquency and drug use. Further, the effect of these strain measures is conditioned by delinquent peers and self‐efficacy, as predicted by GST.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-500
Number of pages26
JournalCriminology
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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