Robert Agnew


Agnew, Robert
White, Helene Raskin
Criminology; Nov92, Vol. 30 Issue 4, p475-499, 25p, 4 charts.

This paper tests Agnew's (1992) general strain theory (GST) of crime and delinquency. GST argues that strain occurs when others (1) prevent or threaten to prevent you from achieving positively valued goals, (2) remove or threaten to remove positively valued stimuli that you possess, or (3) present or threaten to present you with noxious or negatively valued stimuli. The impact of such strain on delinquency is said to be conditioned by several variables, such as association with delinquent peers and self-efficacy. Data from a sample of 1,380 New Jersey adolescents provide qualified support for the theory; strain measures of the type described above have a relatively substantial effect on delinquency and drug use. Further, the effect of these strain measures is conditioned by delinquent peers and self-efficacy, as predicted by GST. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

The Future of Anomie Theory (Book).
Gagnon, John H.
American Journal of Sociology; Jul99, Vol. 105 Issue 1, p257, 2p

Reviews the book "The Future of Anomie Theory," edited by Nikos Passas and Robert Agnew.


Agnew’s Three Major Types of “Deviance-Producing Strain”

Failure to Achieve Positively Valued Goals -- The first of the three major types, the failure to achieve positively valued goals, is subdivided into three further categories. These are the traditional concept, the gap between expectations and actual achievements, and the difference between the view of what a person believes the outcome should be and what actually results. Under the first subcategory, Agnew includes personal goals that are both long term and immediate. In addition, he adds the personal realization that some of the set goals will never become true because of certain circumstances that are unavoidable in life, which include individual weaknesses and blocked opportunities. The second subtype continues to increase personal disappointment and the final subtype encourages the person to stop desiring to put as much effort into relationships.

Removal of Positively Valued Stimuli -- The next major type of “deviance-producing strain” identified by Agnew occurs primarily during adolescents when a dramatic change or loss happens. Examples of this type include experiencing the stressful impact felt before and after moving and when a death or serious illness befalls a family – to include close friends or other individuals that have close ties to the person.

Confrontation with Negative Stimuli -- The last major type of “deviance-producing strain” also applies most to adolescents than any other age group. Usually the individual is forced to remain among negative actions that through an anger-induced response create deviant behavior. Examples of negative inescapable stimuli include peer pressure and child abuse.


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