3 Strain Theory: R.K.Merton. In simple terms, we are socialized into the "American Dream" of health, wealth, personal happinessAmerican society is structured to ensure that the vast majority of people could never realistically attain these ends through the means that American society provides in legitimate ways - hard work
4 Merton’s AnomieAnomie is a disjunction between the socially-produced and encouraged ends or goals and the means through which people can achieve these desirable ends
5 Merton’s theory Because of this tension anomie occurs When a desired success is denied, people would find other, probably less legitimate, means toward desired ends.
6 Merton’s typologyMerton elaborated five basic responses to the anomic situation which he claimed to see in American societyHe classified these types of conformity and deviance in terms of acceptance and denial of basic ends and means
8 Merton’s ConformityConformity applies to the law-abiding citizenThese people accept both socially-produced ends and the socially-legitimated means to achieve them
9 Merton’s InnovationInnovation is deviant behaviour that uses illegitimate means to achieve socially acceptable goalsDrug crimes, property crimesand some white collar crimes wouldbe examples of innovation
10 Merton’s Ritualism3. Ritualism might refer to someone who conforms to socially-approved means, but has lost sight of the ends (or has come to accept that they will never achieve them)Such people are likely to be elderly and they probably enjoy a reasonably comfortable lifestyle.
11 Merton’s RetreatismAn example of retreatism is someone who "drops-out" of mainstream society. The drug addict who retreats into a self-contained world, the alcoholic who is unable to hold-down a steady job
12 Merton’s rebbellionPolitical deviance is a good example of the rebellion response, whether this is expressed in terms of working for a revolutionary group or through political terrorism
13 Assessment Monetary success is the only one motive mentioned by Merton Some criminals are engaged into deviant activities for no apparent reason (enjoyable)If the strains of life really operates as suggested by Merton, why most members of society are engaged in law-abiding activities?
14 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
15 GSTHypothetically, individuals from all social classes could engage in criminal behavior because they could all experience negative emotions arising from strain
16 Robert Agnew’s General Strain Theory (1992) Anger has a significant impact on all measures of crime and devianceStrainANGERCriminalBehavior
17 What are Strains?Strains refer to events or conditions that are disliked by most individuals
18 Three major types of strain Failure to achieve positively valued goalsLoss of positive stimuliPresentation of negative stimuli
19 Failure to achieve positively valued goals Gap between expectations and actual achievements (not always long-term)
20 Loss of positive stimuli Moving to a new city/schoolParental divorceDeath of a relative/close friendBreak Up
21 Presentation of negative stimuli Peer pressurePhysical /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.
22 As reported by students enrolled in schools using AnComm’s ‘Talk About It®’ anonymous online reporting service. The annual AnComm ‘Talk About It®’ Report sample includes more than 70,000 students enrolled in 52 schools across 12 states.
23 GSTWhile 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
24 Agnew’s Theory Factors affecting disposition to delinquency Strain ANGERCriminal BehaviorConstraints to delinquentbehavior
25 Links Between Strain and Crime Anger was found to incite a person to action, and create a desire for revengeCrime allows individuals to obtain revenge against those who have wronged themCrime may allow individuals to alleviate their negative emotions
26 Coping with strain through crime Why are some people more likely than other to cope with strains through crime?Bad temperLow self-controlPrevious delinquent behaviorDelinquent friendsIf 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
27 Coping Strategies Other Than Crime Crime is not the only way that people will respond to strainThere are three different types of coping strategies that enable the individual to deal with the strain in their life through legitimate meansCognitiveEmotionalBehavioral
28 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 goalMaximizing the positive while minimizing the negative outcomes of an event. This is an attempt to ignore the fact that there has been a negative eventAccept the outcomes of the negative outcomes as fair
29 Behavioral coping strategies Individuals may actively seek out positive stimuli (social support from friends and relatives)Try to escape negative stimuliIn addition, individuals may actively seek out revenge in a non-delinquent manner (Agnew, 1992:69)
31 GST and gender differences in crime The levels and types of strain could be different for girls and for boysBoys and girls may have different responses to the same strainGender variation in conditioning effects (gender differences in dealing/coping with strain)
32 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 imbalanceGirls are especially susceptible to strain caused by problems in forming and maintaining positive relationships with family and friends
33 Different responses to the same strain Consistent with gender socialization, when facing stressors, males would be more likely to behave aggressivelyFemales would be more likely to engage in more passive and self-destructive forms of delinquency, such as running away form home, alcohol use, etc.
34 Sex differences in emotional responses FemaleMaleMore likely to respond with depression and angerMore likely to respond with angerAnger is accompanied by fear, guilt, and shameAnger is followed by moral outrageMore likely to blame themselves and worry about the affects of their angerQuick to blame others and are less concerned about hurting othersDepression and guilt may lead to self-destructive behaviors (i.e. eating disorders)Moral outrage may lead to property and violent crime
35 Sex differences in coping strategies Females employ escape and avoidance methods to relieve the strainFemales 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 statusTherefore, males are more likely to respond to strain with crime (Agnew 1997).
36 Empirical supportNumerous tests of GST had also examined the relationship between strain and negative emotion, yielding mixed resultsSeveral 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).
37 Policy Recommendations Agnew proposed several different programs to reduce delinquency which have shown success after being implemented
38 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
39 Policy Recommendations School-based programs seek to improve relations in and between schoolsPeer based programs seek to reduce the amount of strain that an adolescent feels as a result of relationships with peersRelationships with peers can be negative when the peers are delinquent or when they are physically or verbally abusive toward other peers