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Gendered Response to Serious Strain: The Argument for a General Strain Theory of Deviance

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 26 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2009 Pages: 410-444
Joanne M. Kaufman
Date Published
September 2009
35 pages
This paper expands and builds on three newer avenues in research on gender and general strain theory (GST) to explore how gender matters in the strain-deviance process.
This research provides support for general strain theory (GST) across multiple negative emotions and multiple deviant outcomes for both males and females. The inclusion of depressive symptoms and gender-sensitive deviant outcomes appears to be critical to understand the pathways to female deviance as well as male deviance. These results support the utility of GST as a theory of deviance in general and support greater connections and overlap between GST and feminist theorizing on deviance and GST and the sociology of mental health. To begin to fully assess the gendered nature of the strain process requires drawing on newer avenues in GST research including (1) examining appropriate serious strains that are relevant to males and females, (2) multiple measures of emotional experience, (3) examining a more extensive variety of deviant outcomes that recognize the gendered nature of deviant choices, and (4) examining a more extensive variety of legitimate coping strategies and resources. This paper builds on recent literature to address the first three issues by focusing on serious strains that reflect gendered experiences. Tables and references