Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Individual Characteristics and General Strain Theory

  • Lee Ann Slocum
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_219



When initially proposed, General Strain Theory’s (GST) primary emphasis was on explaining why some people are more likely to offend than others. In more recent years, it has been extended to address within-person patterns of offending, or more specifically, why some individuals continue to offend well into adulthood while most limit their involvement in delinquency to adolescence. Explanations of both inter- and intra-individual differences rely on the same central principle: Patterns of offending can be accounted for by differences in exposure and reaction to strain between people and over time. This entry provides a brief review of the theoretical and empirical literature on GST explanations of between- and within-person differences in offending. Emphasis is on understanding the manner in which individual characteristics, such as personality traits, social support, and social control, affect the types and quantity of...

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Recommended Reading and References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology and Criminal JusticeUniversity of Missouri – St. LouisSt. LouisUSA