The strain theory. Strain Theory: How to Cope With Stressful Situations Free Essay Example 2022-12-08

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The strain theory is a sociological theory that explains the relationship between social structure and deviance. According to strain theory, people who are unable to attain their goals through legitimate means, such as education or employment, may turn to deviant behaviors as a way to cope with the strain that results from their inability to achieve their goals.

The strain theory was first proposed by Robert Merton in the 1940s. Merton argued that people in a society are socialized to strive for certain goals, such as wealth and success. However, not everyone has equal access to the means to attain these goals. Some people may be born into disadvantaged circumstances, while others may face discrimination or other barriers to opportunity.

When people are unable to achieve their goals through legitimate means, they may experience strain or frustration. This strain can lead to deviant behaviors as a way to cope with the disappointment and frustration of not being able to achieve their goals. Merton identified five different ways in which people may respond to strain: conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism, and rebellion.

Conformity refers to the idea that people who experience strain will try to achieve their goals through conventional means, even if it is difficult or requires a lot of effort. Innovation refers to the idea that people who experience strain will try to achieve their goals through illegal or unconventional means, such as theft or fraud. Ritualism refers to the idea that people who experience strain will give up on their goals and instead focus on the routine of their everyday lives. Retreatism refers to the idea that people who experience strain will completely give up on their goals and turn to drugs or other forms of escapism. Rebellion refers to the idea that people who experience strain will actively challenge the social norms and values that are preventing them from achieving their goals.

The strain theory has been influential in explaining deviant behaviors, and it has been applied to a wide range of topics, including crime, drug use, and mental health. However, the theory has also been criticized for its focus on individual behavior and its lack of attention to the role of social and economic structures in shaping deviant behaviors.

Overall, the strain theory provides an important perspective on how social structure and individual behavior are related. It highlights the role that social and economic inequalities play in shaping deviant behaviors and suggests that addressing these inequalities may be an important way to prevent deviance and promote social stability.

Strain Theory: How to Cope With Stressful Situations Free Essay Example

the strain theory

Such goals are especially important to young males and the inability to achieve these goals is thought to be an important source of strain. Nevertheless, Agnew and his colleagues have extended and elaborated GST in many ways, showing how the theory can also be used to explain patterns of crime over the life course, gender differences in crime, and community-level differences in crime. Foundation for a general strain theory of crime and delinquency. Due to these role relationships that individuals may feel "role strain", or difficulty fulfilling their sociological duties in the relationship. Being inexperienced in dealing with crises might increase the strain, which could be linked to the rates of suicide amongst teens and young adults. Into the wild Vol.

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Merton’s Strain Theory of Deviance

the strain theory

He thumbed his nose at society by having both and shocking those that lived and was a part of his community. Over time, strain theories came under attack for their failure to adequately explain why only some strained individuals resort to crime, for their failure to explain offending by middle-class individuals, for their neglect of goals other than monetary success or middle-class status, and for their lack of empirical support. To cope with this frustration, status-frustrated boys tend to band together and rebel against middle-class expectations. You may also want to check Take Away The strain theory is a framework for understanding how people react to the challenges and pressures of everyday life. General Strain Theory differentiates between strain on two different axes: objective vs.

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The Strain Theory: The Serial Killer Of John Wayne Gacy

the strain theory

It can be something very small and informal, such as leaving smelly garbage bags in your front lawn, or it can be something big, like committing first degree murder. The severity of the strain increases or decreases the risks of criminal conduct. Through understanding and implementing appropriate strategies, perhaps progress can be made. This can take the form of violence or other forms of deviant behavior. I agree that incarceration is not the solution, rehabilitation should be the goal.

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Strain Theory

the strain theory

Journal of research in crime and delinquency, 38 4 , 319-361. For instance, he can consider waiting a bit longer for the funds to be sufficient to import the car through the right procedure. The book is organized into ten sections, each representing the latest in the multi-disciplinary orientations representing a cross-section of contemporary criminological theory. As mentioned earlier, 22. Crime and the American dream: Cengage Learning. When an individual in a society cannot achieve culturally approved goal via culturally approved ways, it can be stressful for him and may leads to deviant behavior.


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Strain Theory and "Deviance"

the strain theory

Unfortunately the rise of the prison-industrial complex and lack of funding for social programs makes any sort of change difficult of not impossible. Academic stress and Internet addiction from general strain theory framework. For example, in a homogeneous society, drinking is considered normal and normative. Indeed, Langton suggests, the types of strain and negative emotions experienced by white collar workers may differ from that of other populations. These individuals are so disinvested in these goals that they retreat from society. Examples of interventions that may have potential in this area include parenting and anger-management programs for overviews, see Agnew, Review of the Literature and Further Sources To fully understand GST, it is helpful to review the multiple publications that span the development and growth of the theory.

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Agnew General Strain Theory Explained

the strain theory

Other times he goes for a run. Lastly, rebellion applies to people who reject and replace culturally valued goals and the socially sanctioned ways of achieving them. Finally, a person could also accept the negatives in the situation. Luckily, I am lucky enough to have many other healthy, legal options of releasing my anger. His theory assumes that an individual experiences strain when culturally prescribed means to achieve goals are blocked and therefore uses illegitimate means to achieve a goal. The matter of disrespectful treatment harkens back to topics of injustice and high-magnitude strains, since the situation involves unjust treatment with highly impactful consequences. And the ways by which they might react may surprise you.

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Case Study: The Strain Theory

the strain theory

As for women, Agnew suggests that they are more concerned with creating close bonds with others and maintaining their relationships. This example provides evidence that students perceived their reward to be inadequate to the effort put forth. These negative emotions were especially high among females, people of color, those living in immigrant or non intact households, and those low in self-control. Moreover, many studies—especially those focusing on aggression—find that the effect of strain is partly mediated by anger. Social groups may try out new means of achieving their goals to resolve the tension caused by cultural goals and societal norms. For them, criminal coping is the only way to deal with this problem. Perspectives on deviance and social control: Sage Publications.

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Strain Theories

the strain theory

It is an aspect of functionalism, which in itself is a constructivist theory. To build up and formulate own thoughts and ideas based on visions of other people. Part IV Social Learning and Neutralization Theories: Moral disengagement in the perpetration of inhumanities, Albert Bandura; When being good is bad: an expansion of neutralization theory, Volkan Topalli. For example, their money could be stolen, a friend may die, or a romantic partner may leave them. Innovation: the individual shares the cultural goal of the society but reaches this goal through illegitimate means. These emotions are said to generate pressures for corrective active, with offending behavior being one possible response. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.


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