The Containment Theory was originally proposed by sociologist, Walter C. Reckless in 1961. His theory attempts to explain delinquency as the interaction between two different kinds of control; one being inner or internal pushes, and the other being outer or external pushes. Containment theory suggests that every individual contains an external structure and also a protective internal structure. The strength of these structures determines the actions of the individual, and the severity of their deviance (Hamlin, 2005). Deviance can be defined as the violation of rules or norms (Henslin, 2006).
A person's inner strength of their personality is considered to be there inner containments or "self" components. These qualities include a strong ego, good self concept, and a well developed conscience. Other traits include a high frustration tolerance and a high sense of responsibility. Outer containments on the other hand refer to a person's social environment. Aspects of their social environment might include effective supervision, discipline, reasonable limits and responsibilities, reinforcement of goals, and opportunities for achievement. Belonging and identifying with a group and the norms and values which they share are also considered outer containments (DeMelo, 1999). A twenty year old by the name of David Longo was interviewed for proposes of applying his story to Walter C. Reckless' Containment Theory. He grew up in a nuclear family household, consisting of two parents and a sister (Henslin,2006). At an early age of eight years old, his nuclear family was turned into a broken home. Davids parents divorced after many years of his mother putting up with verbal and physical abuse from his father. David remained in his home with his mother and his father moved out (Longo). Throughout most of his childhood, David did not see his father at all and even much of his mother due to her working double shifts as a nurse at a Medical Center. This meant that...
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