Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: March 31, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781446200926 | Print ISBN: 9781412920384 | Online ISBN: 9781446200926| Publisher:SAGE Publications LtdAbout this handbook
Chapter 5: Strain Theories
Robert Agnew & Timothy Brezina
Strain theories Strain theory states that certain strains or stressors increase the likelihood of crime. There are several versions of strain theory, each of which describes; (a) those strains most conducive to crime; (b) why such strains increase the likelihood of crime; and (c) why some individuals are more likely than others to respond to strains with crime. This chapter begins with a brief historic overview of the different versions of strain theory, then focuses on the most recent and broadest version of strain theory: Agnew's general strain theory (GST). The major propositions of GST are described, along with the research on these propositions. There is then a discussion of how GST has been used to explain certain key issues in criminology, including gender and community differences in crime rates; as well as patterns of offending over the life course. Finally, future directions for research on GST are discussed. Merton ...