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The Strain Theory

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The Strain Theory
There are many theories to crime causations one in particular caught my attention, one that I believe is the most accurate. The strain theory was developed in 1938 by Robert Merton and then updated by Robert Agnew in 1985. Agnew’s general strain theory is based on the general idea that “when people get treated badly the might get upset and engage in crime”. The general strain theory identifies the ways of measuring strain, the different types of strain, and the link between strain and crime. Agnew came up with two different ways to measure strain in an individual’s life. The first way is the subjective approach, where the researcher directly asks the “individual whether they dislike how they are being treated”. The second approach is the objective view, where the researcher asks individuals about pre-determined causes of strain. The causes of strain are things that the researcher identifies as treatment that a member of the group being studied would dislike. The objective approach is most commonly used way to measure strain and it usually involves relationships with friends, families, and the community. But when doing research one must consider that individuals have different reactions to certain types of strain. To get an effective measure of strain the researcher must first make a list of all the negative circumstances that can result in strain. The second thing to be considered is the magnitude, duration, and clustering of negative events. There are three major types of strain. The first is the failure to achieve positively valued goals, the second is the loss of positive stimuli, and the third is the presentation of negative stimuli. Agnew noted that the three positively valued goals members of society strive for are 1) money, it is a cause for strain when it is not available through legitimate means and delinquents desire to gain large amounts of money.2) status and respect, an individual strives to prove their masculinity by using...

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