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Behavior Genetics and Anomie/Strain Theory

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2000 Pages: 1075-1107
Anthony Walsh
Date Published
November 2000
33 pages
This article explains theory and research findings related to behavior genetics and concludes that behavior genetics can complement, extend, and add coherence to criminological theory.
Criminology needs conceptual revival; behavioral genetics can provide the concepts and research design to accomplish this goal. Behavior genetics is a biologically-friendly environmental discipline that often tells more about environmental effects on individual traits than about genetic effects. Anomie/strain theory exemplifies the usefulness of behavior genetics to criminological theories. Behavior genetics examines the individual differences that sort people into different modes of adaptation and that lead them to cope constructively or destructively with strain. The analysis concludes that behavior genetics and other biosocial perspectives have the potential to help Agnew’s 1997 extension of general strain theory into the developmental realm. Tables, footnotes, and 117 references (Author abstract modified)