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Factors Of Sociologist Robert Agnew's General Strain Theory

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Sociologist Robert Agnew introduced the General Strain Theory (GST) in 1992, which argues that strain is the leading factor that causes someone to be delinquent or criminally motived. He categorizes three major types of strain that produces delinquency: the failure to achieve positively valued goals, removal of positively valued stimuli, and the introduction of negatively valued stimuli (Agnew et al., 2002, p. 44). These different forms of strain greatly increase the chances for an individual to experience negative emotions such as anger, depression, and frustration. When anger is the result of strain, Agnew et al. (2002) argue delinquent and criminal behaviors are more likely to occur. Until recent research, the GST has
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Their purpose was to measure the children’s individual strains both at home and school by asking them a series of “yes or no” questions. Interviews also included surveys from the children’s main teacher and primary guardian, usually the mother, and the questions tended to be more comprehensive. Results that were similar between the mother and teacher were then measured and compared. They found that teacher’s responses to the survey tended to be less biased than a juveniles primary guardian. This allowed them to accurately compare the children’s level of constraint and personality traits from all major influencing environments. As a result, Agnew et al. (2002) found that juveniles who are high in negative emotionality and show low constraint tend to experience more strain and therefore are more likely to act as a delinquent or participate in criminal behavior. This correlation not only makes sense but also is important because it provides empirical researchers with an explanation as to why some juvenile’s are more likely to react to strain with delinquency and crime (Agnew et al., 2002). Agnew et al. (2002) choose to focus on the traits of negative emotionality and constraint for a couple of reasons. The first reason being “it allows us to draw on the extensive psychological research on the nature and origin of these traits. Second, the impact of low self-control on crime is interpreted largely in terms of control theory” (Agnew et al., 2002,
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