He proposed a general straintheory that is no longerstructural or interpersonal, butrather individual and emotional,paying special attention to apersons direct socialenvironment and negativestimuli.ROBERT AGNEW’SGENERAL STRAINTHEORY
Male Strain•Concerned with material success – thushigher rates of property and violent crime•Face more conflict with peers and are likelyto be the victims of crime•Failure to achieve goals may lead to propertyand violent crime•More likely to respond with anger, followedby moral outrage•Quick to blame others and are lessconcerned about hurting others
Men tend tobe over-representedin arrests,prisons, andoverall crimestatistics
Female Strain•Concerned with creating and maintaining closebonds and relationships with others•Face negative treatment, such asdiscrimination, high demands from family, andrestricted behavior•Failure to achieve goals may lead to self-destructive behavior•More likely to respond with depression andanger•More likely to blame themselves and worryabout the effects of their anger
Strain can result from a person’sfailure to achieve one of threepositively valued goals.The first of these is money. Money isa cause of strain when it is notavailable to the person through legalmeans.The second type of positive goal isthat of status and respect. This is anespecially important factor for males.Autonomy, or the power overoneself, is the third type of goal thatis valued in a society.
• Goal related strain results fromthree types of disjunction, oneof which being betweenaspirations and expectations.• Another source of strain due togoal blockage is the disjunctionbetween expectations andactual achievements.• The third type of disjunctionoccurs when the actualoutcome that an individualfaces is not the just/fairoutcome that he/she felt wasdeserved.
The removal of positive stimulican also cause strain. This losscould manifest itself in the formof a death, a broken relationshipwith a friend or spouse, or thetheft of a valued object.According to Agnew, the strainthat is felt by the individual due tothe loss could lead the individualto delinquency as the individualattempts to prevent its loss,retrieve what was lost, or seekrevenge on those who caused theloss (Agnew, 1992:57)
The presence of negative stimuli• Some examples of negative stimuli that a young adultmight face are abuse, neglect, school difficulties such aspoor grades or bullying, neighborhood problems, andhomelessness (Agnew, 1992:58-59).• Since its addition to Agnew’s general strain theory,research has been done on this topic. A study byHoffmann and Miller (1998:106) found that negative lifeevents produce increasing delinquent behavior inadolescents. Their findings include such factors asparental unemployment, deaths in the family, and illness.
Anger and frustration may causethe person to justify criminal acts.Agnew stressed that individualswho experience repetitive strainmay be more likely to commitcrime or delinquent acts.This is due to the fact that othercoping strategies for the strainare overloaded, the threshold fornegativity is pushed to the limit,and the person may becomehostile or aggressive (Agnew,1992:61)
References• Agnew, Robert. (1992). Foundation for a general strain theory ofcrime and delinquency. Criminology. 30(1), 47-87.• Hoffmann, John and Alan Miller. (1998). A latent variable analysis ofgeneral strain theory. Journal of quantitative criminology. 14(1), 83-110.