General Strain Theory revision.doc - Running head GENERAL...

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Running head: GENERAL STRAIN THEORY 1 General Strain Theory Students’ Name Institutional Affiliation
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ASSERTIONS OF THE GENERAL STRAIN THEORY 2 General Strain Theory I. Introduction The delinquent and criminality theory studied in this paper is General Strain Theory (GST). Robert Agnew developed the theory. Even though other people did related works, Agnew is credited with widening the application of the theory to fit into different social situations. This removed the confines of the theory from financial position to other fields. The purpose of the paper is to analyze the applicability of the theory. Hence, aside from the description of the theory, an effort will be made to look at how it has been applied by other studies and the validity of such studies. Moreover, the theory shall be critiqued with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of the extent of its applicability. This will be done by looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the theory, and how this sits within the gaps in other studies. II. Description Of The Theory Introduction There has been consulted effort over the years to explain social misfits and antisocial behaviors exhumed by some members of the society. General Strain Theory falls within a group of theories developed by sociologists to explain how social forces can lead to both delinquent behaviors as well as criminal acts. Such theories contend that; troubles facing individuals, such as relationship problems, financial challenges, loss of a loved one or even loss of a job can increase the risk of engaging in delinquent behavior or even criminality (Ostrowsky & Messner,
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ASSERTIONS OF THE GENERAL STRAIN THEORY 3 2015). Individuals may lack coping strategies to respond to pressures and stress associated with social problems or challenges. This is known as ‘strain.’ The GST theory assumes that; strain occurs when the society emphasizes on given desirable goals. However, individuals may have an inadequate opportunity or capabilities to achieve those goals within the purview of legitimate institutional means (Ostrowsky & Messner, 2015). For instance, material possession is emphasized by the society. However, limited resources and opportunities may exist for young people, to start businesses or get a decent job and earn enough to afford such goal. Resultant frustration and shame often drive a person into committing a crime. The driving force is for them to fit into the definition of success imposed by the society. Agnew (1992) supported the underlying definition of strain that leads individuals to delinquent behavior and criminality. However, Agnew expounds on this theory in quite significant ways. As a result, the GST is unique from other Social Learning Theories and Social Structures Theories. Agnew (1992) highlights two new areas which are unique to the theory; in comparison to other theories. First, are the types of social relationships that push people into delinquent behaviors and secondly, the motivations of delinquency. It is too simplistic to assume
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