Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Thornberry, Terence P.: Interactional Theory
Sung Joon Jang
Terence P. Thornberry called his theory “interactional” because it was developed based on the premise that crime and delinquency is a behavioral outcome of social interactions between a person and his or her environment. Guided by a strategy he called “theoretical elaboration,” Thornberry combined two major social psychological perspectives of delinquency, control theory and social learning theory, into an initial version of interactional theory designed to explain delinquent behavior better than when each theory is used separately. The significance of interactional theory, however, goes beyond its proposed merging of these two individual theories. The theory's unique contribution has been to offer a dynamic model of bidirectional causality and developmental changes across three stages of adolescence (ages 11–20): early, middle, and late adolescence. Up until this time, criminologists had only sporadically discussed and explored changes in the influence of delinquency predictors during adolescence as well as bidirectional (or reciprocal) causal The ...