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Relationship Between Crime and Objective Versus Subjective Strains

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 35 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2007 Pages: 81-87
Giacinto Froggio; Robert Agnew
Date Published
January 2007
7 pages
This study tested Agnew's (General Strain Theory) arguments regarding objective and subjective strains and their relationship with crime.
Support is found for Agnew's argument that it is important to distinguish between objective and subjective strains. There is often much variation in the subjective evaluation of objective strains, although the extent of such variation depends on the strain being examined. In addition, there is some evidence that strains rated high in negativity are more likely to be associated with crime than those rated low in negativity. Agnew's General Strain Theory (GST) has become one of the leading explanations of crime and delinquency. Agnew recently extended GST by arguing that some types of strain are more likely than others to result in crime. A core argument is that "subjective" strains are more strongly related to crime than "objective" strains. Objective strains refer to events and conditions that are disliked by most people in a given group. Subjective strains refer to events and conditions that are disliked by the people who have experienced them. In this study, Agnew argues that subjective strains should be more strongly associated with crime, since they are more likely to generate the negative emotions that lead to crime. Agnew's arguments were tested with data from a sample of Italian youth. Tables, notes, and references


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