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A test of general strain theory

by Lisa M. Broidy
Criminology ()

Abstract

Tests of general strain theory (Agnew, 1992) have focused primarily on the relationship between strain and crime, ignoring the intervening role of negative emotions and legitimate coping strategies. This research provides a more comprehensive test of general strain theory, including measures of both anger and other expressions of negative affect, as well as a measure of legitimate coping. Results suggest that strain, negative emotions, and legitimate coping are all related, although not always in the expected direction. Moreover, results indicate that the nature of the link among these three variables and criminal outcomes are shaped by the types of strain and negative affect individuals experience, and by sex differences in the links among central variables.

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