The strain theory is a sociological theory that explains the relationship between social structure and deviance. According to strain theory, people who are unable to attain their goals through legitimate means, such as education or employment, may turn to deviant behaviors as a way to cope with the strain that results from their inability to achieve their goals.
The strain theory was first proposed by Robert Merton in the 1940s. Merton argued that people in a society are socialized to strive for certain goals, such as wealth and success. However, not everyone has equal access to the means to attain these goals. Some people may be born into disadvantaged circumstances, while others may face discrimination or other barriers to opportunity.
When people are unable to achieve their goals through legitimate means, they may experience strain or frustration. This strain can lead to deviant behaviors as a way to cope with the disappointment and frustration of not being able to achieve their goals. Merton identified five different ways in which people may respond to strain: conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism, and rebellion.
Conformity refers to the idea that people who experience strain will try to achieve their goals through conventional means, even if it is difficult or requires a lot of effort. Innovation refers to the idea that people who experience strain will try to achieve their goals through illegal or unconventional means, such as theft or fraud. Ritualism refers to the idea that people who experience strain will give up on their goals and instead focus on the routine of their everyday lives. Retreatism refers to the idea that people who experience strain will completely give up on their goals and turn to drugs or other forms of escapism. Rebellion refers to the idea that people who experience strain will actively challenge the social norms and values that are preventing them from achieving their goals.
The strain theory has been influential in explaining deviant behaviors, and it has been applied to a wide range of topics, including crime, drug use, and mental health. However, the theory has also been criticized for its focus on individual behavior and its lack of attention to the role of social and economic structures in shaping deviant behaviors.
Overall, the strain theory provides an important perspective on how social structure and individual behavior are related. It highlights the role that social and economic inequalities play in shaping deviant behaviors and suggests that addressing these inequalities may be an important way to prevent deviance and promote social stability.
Archives of Suicide Research. Based on a national sample of adolescents, Paternoster and Mazerolle A study by Brezina Evidence on Conditioning Factors People differ in their response to strain and only some strained individuals—perhaps a small percentage of strained individuals—respond with offending behavior. Criminology, 35 3 , 409-434. Suicide, a study in sociology. The experience of chronic or repeated strain, in particular, may weaken relationships with conventional others and therefore result in low social control. Anomie means a lack of ethical standards.
Strain Theory: How to Cope With Stressful Situations Free Essay Example
These goals can be difficult to achieve because they may require us to go against our natural inclinations or desires. Durkheim 1951 believed that: When society is disturbed by some painful crisis or by beneficent but abrupt transitions, it is momentarily incapable of exercising this influence; thence come the sudden rises in the curve of suicides. Example: dealing drugs or stealing to achieve financial security. Ramos Tarleton State University Question 1 Strain theory states that various social structures or stressors can increase the likelihood of a person to resort to criminal activities. Rothe and David O.
Applying Strain Theory to the Crime Epidemic in Chicago
This meant that people who were born in that neighborhood were extremely likely to live in that neighborhood once they became independent of their parents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39 5 , 446-459. It presents data from structured interviews and fieldwork in India and the United States that suggest variations in the understanding and experience of anger across three samples: Americans, lay Tibetans, and Tibetan Buddhist clergy. These individuals are so disinvested in these goals that they retreat from society. As a result, if this persists over time, they may be more likely to embezzle money to achieve what they believe is impossible.
An example of this could be something like homelessness. Depending upon the type of stress they encounter, there is a greater likelihood that certain individuals may choose to commit a crime. The results of this study clearly reinforced the theoretical premise that the greater the amount of strain a person has in their life, the more susceptible they are to committing deviant acts. This results in some individuals from the lower classes using unconventional or criminal means to obtain financial resources. Regardless of the fact that he has nothing on his record, he has been pulled over twice in the suburbs of Chicago for seemingly ridiculous reasons. Strain, attribution, and traffic delinquency among young drivers: Measuring and testing general strain theory in the context of driving.
For example, in empirical tests, the experience of strain or goal-blockage did not prove to be a strong predictor of delinquency. For men, when enough moral outrage is present, crime becomes a possible coping mechanism. It also increases the likelihood that angry and frustrated individuals will encounter each other, contributing to elevated rates of crime and violence Agnew, Hundreds of studies have been published that test some aspect of GST or that apply GST to crime, delinquency, or other deviant behaviors. American Journal of Psychiatry. This could include things like abuse, trauma, or mental illness. He was released on parole in the summer of 1970 but was arrested the following year again after another teen accused Gacy of sexual assault; the charges were dropped when the boy didn't appear during the trial. The third and final strategy Agnew introduced was the emotional strategy.
Police officers in my neighborhood are friends. Robert Agnew developed his general strain theory GST in 1992, and it has since become the leading version of strain theory and one of the major theories of crime. The rate of violent crime in Chicago is staggering, and the loss of life is great. Confirmation bias is a cognitive bias that people use…. Retrieved from Schneider, F.
For example, an individual may see that his neighbor is not at home and decides to break into his house one day. They do so by creating their own alternative status system, which emphasizes goals they can readily achieve, such as toughness and fighting prowess. The longer the individual is exposed to this, the more likely he is to commit a crime. Instead of learning these skills, she finds a man in the company willing to marry her and help her get to where she wants to be. If coping is possible, then crime can be avoided.
The Strain Theory: The Serial Killer Of John Wayne Gacy
Finally, there is a cultural conflict, which occurs when people have different values and beliefs than those held by the majority of society. For example, if the society in which Elise lives in believes that no woman can enter medical school, then her goal to be able to further her education in medical school would be wrong. It can be something very small and informal, such as leaving smelly garbage bags in your front lawn, or it can be something big, like committing first degree murder. Mertonian norm It refers to the conflict arising when there is a discrepancy between cultural goals and means to achieve them, and other The theory focuses on anomie as a factor of social control and its role in shaping social values and norms. It occurs when people rebel against the established order in an attempt to bring about change.
It stated that society, as a whole, generally shares the same goals relating Proposed Theories And Approaches Surrounding The True Nature Of Crime of proposed theories and approaches surrounding the true nature of crime and what drives criminals to act in the ways that they do. Those seem like reasonable and easy to implement interventions. Because she lives in a very poor section of Philadelphia, in a single-parent household, being the eldest among four children, higher education does not fit to seem an option for her. Advances in Criminological Theory 6. A student who is bullied can be regularly exposed to models of aggression, and chronically employed individuals living in communities where there is little room for economic opportunity may belong to groups that believe theft and drug dealing are acceptable.