Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Individual Characteristics and General Strain Theory

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

Synonyms

Overview

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

  1. Agnew R (1992) Foundation for a General Strain Theory of crime and delinquency. Criminology 30:47–87Google Scholar
  2. Agnew R (1997) Stability and change in crime over the life course: a strain theory explanation. In: Thornberry T (ed) Developmental theories of crime and delinquency. Transaction, New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
  3. Agnew R (2001) Building on the foundation of General Strain Theory: specifying the types of strain most likely to lead to crime and delinquency. J Res Crime Delinq 38:319–361Google Scholar
  4. Agnew R (2006a) General Strain Theory: current status and directions for future research. In: Cullen FT, Wright JP, Blevins KR (eds) Taking stock: the status of criminological theory. Transaction, New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
  5. Agnew R (2006b) Pressured into crime: an overview of General Strain Theory. Roxbury Publishing Company, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
  6. Agnew R, Brezina T, Wright JP, Cullen FT (2002) Strain, personality traits, and delinquency: extending General Strain Theory. Criminology 40:43–72Google Scholar
  7. Aseltine RH, Gore S, Gordon J (2000) Life stress, anger and anxiety, and delinquency: an empirical test of General Strain Theory. J Health Soc Behav 41:256–275Google Scholar
  8. Caspi A, Moffitt TM, Silva PA, Stouthamer-Loeber M, Krueger RF, Schmutte P (1994) Are some people crime-prone? Replications of the personality-crime relationship across countries, genders, races, and methods. Criminology 32:163–195Google Scholar
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  13. Hoffmann JP, Cerbone FG (1999) Stressful life events and delinquency escalation in early adolescence. Criminology 37:343–373Google Scholar
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  21. Slocum LA (2010a) General Strain Theory and continuity in offending over time: assessing and extending GST explanations of persistence. J Contemp Crim Justice 26:204–223Google Scholar
  22. Slocum LA (2010b) General Strain Theory and the development of stressors and substance use over time: an empirical examination. J Crim Justice 38:1100–1112Google Scholar
  23. Slocum LA, Simpson SS, Smith DA (2005) Strained lives and crime: examining within-individual variation in strain and offending in a sample of incarcerated women. Criminology 43:1067–1109Google Scholar
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  25. Tittle CR, Broidy LM, Gertz MG (2008) Strain, crime and contingencies. Justice Q 25:283–312Google Scholar

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