These strains lead to negative emotions, such as frustration and anger. These emotions create pressure for corrective action, and crime is one possible response. Crime may be used to reduce or escape from strain, seek revenge against the source of strain or related targets, or alleviate negative emotions.
For example, individuals experiencing chronic unemployment may engage in theft or drug selling to obtain money, seek revenge against the person who fired them, or take illicit drugs in an effort to feel better.
The major versions of strain theory describe 1 the particular strains most likely to lead to crime, 2 why strains increase crime, and 3 the factors that lead a person to or dissuade a person from responding to strains with crime.
All strain theories acknowledge that only a minority of strained individuals turn to crime. Classic strain theory focuses on that type of strain involving the inability to achieve monetary success or the somewhat broader goal of middle-class status.
Classic strain theory fell into decline during the s and s, partly because research appeared to challenge it. There were several attempts to revise strain theory, most arguing that crime may result from the inability to achieve a range of goals—not just monetary success or middle-class status.
Robert Agnew developed his general strain theory GST inand it has since become the leading version of strain theory and one of the major theories of crime. GST focuses on a broad range of strains, including the inability to achieve a variety of goals, the loss of valued possessions, and negative treatment by others.
It has also been applied to many types of crime and deviance, including corporate crime, police deviance, bullying, suicide, terrorism, and eating disorders. Much evidence suggests that the strains identified by GST increase the likelihood of crime, although the predictions of GST about the types of people most likely to respond to these strains with crime have received less support.
General Overviews Strain theories are among the leading theories of crime and so are routinely discussed in textbooks, handbooks, and encyclopedia dealing with crime theories. They are suitable for everyone from undergraduates through professional criminologists.
The readers by Passas and Agnew and Adler and Laufer are intended for graduate students and professionals. They both contain reviews, tests, and extensions of the leading strain theories.
Certain of these selections also discuss anomie theory, which is closely related to strain theory. Adler, Freda, and William S. The legacy of anomie theory.
Advances in Criminological Theory 6.Robert Agnew developed his general strain theory (GST) in , and it has since become the leading version of strain theory and one of the major theories of crime.
GST focuses on a broad range of strains, including the inability to achieve a variety of goals, the loss of valued possessions, and negative treatment by others.
Agnew, Robert () ‘Building on the Foundation of General Strain Theory: Specifying the Types of Strain Most Likely to Lead to Crime and Delinquency’, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 38(4): General strain theory (GST) is the latest and broadest version of strain theory (Agnew, ).
GST represents a revision and extension of prior strain theories, including the classic strain theories of Merton (), Cohen (), and Cloward and Ohlin (). General strain theory (GST) is the latest and broadest version of strain theory (Agnew, ). GST represents a revision and extension of prior strain theories, including the classic strain theories of Merton (), Cohen (), and Cloward and Ohlin ().
Agnew R. Building on the foundation of general strain theory: Specifying the types of strain most likely to lead to crime and delinquency.
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. ; – Agnew R. Pressured into Crime: An overview of General Strain Theory. Roxbury Publishing; Los . Abstract. This paper draws on Robert Agnew’s General Strain Theory (GST) to more fully describe the relationship between family dynamics and delinquency.