Social Structures And Stressors Can Increase The Likelihood Of A Person

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Directed Study in Criminal Justice- CRIJ 5314
Arleen J. Ramos
Tarleton State University

Question 1
Strain theory states that various social structures or stressors can increase the likelihood of a person to resort to criminal activities. The strains increase the negative emotions of an individual such as frustration and anger, which create the pressure to seek corrective action and therefore crime may be seen as a possible solution to ease the pressure (Bao, Haas, Chen, & Pi, 2012). When a person uses crime to ease the pressure that has been brought about by strain theories, he or she is trying to escape from the source of the strain, seek revenge, or alleviate the negative emotions that he or she feels. For instance, a young …show more content…

For instance, the theory points out that the society normally exerts pressure on individuals to achieve the socially accepted goals such as being wealthy, even though most people may not have the means to achieve such a status. It provides a strain, and it can lead people to commit crimes such as selling drugs or become corrupt to gain financial security. The strains are either structural or individual. Structural strains normally refer to the processes that are at the societal level, and which filter down and affect the way a person perceives his or her needs (Rovai, Baker, & Ponton, 2013). On the other hand, individual strains normally refer to the frictions and pains that are experienced by an individual when he or she is trying to satisfy his or her needs. In this theory, it normally focuses on strains that involve the inability of a person to achieve monetary success. However, during the 1970s and 1980s, the use of the classic theory began to decline as research began to challenge its validity in explaining criminal activities. Not all crimes can be explained using Merton?s theory, for instance, when a person is involved in vandalism, one cannot state that he was in pursuit of material acquisition.
The General Strain Theory (GST) is both a sociology and criminology theory that was developed by Robert Agnew in 1992. It states that people who experience strain or stress become distressed or even upset and it may lead them to commit crimes so as to

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