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
Akers, Ronald L.: Social Learning Theory
Christine S. Sellers & L. Thomas Winfree Jr.
In 1973, Ronald L. Akers published the first of three editions of his seminal work, Deviant Behavior: A Social Learning Approach . In that book, Akers laid out the basic elements of what has become one of the most popular and widely researched theories in criminology: social learning theory. Social learning theory, in its current form, spells out the specific mechanisms by which criminal behavior is learned. In particular, social learning theory maintains that criminal behavior is more likely to result when an individual associates more with those who engage in and approve of crime than with others who do not. Such a pattern of association provides more criminal than non-criminal role models, greater reinforcement of criminal than conforming behavior, and the shaping of more pro-crime than anti-crime attitudes that constitute the optimal environment in which criminal behavior is learned. The origins of social learning theory extend to an effort ...