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Stress, Crime, and Violence (From Social Stress in the United States: Links to Regional Patterns in Crime and Illness, P 65-88, 1986, Arnold S Linsky and Murray A Straus, eds.)

NCJ Number
A S Linsky; W A Straus
Date Published
24 pages
Using a State stress index, a composite measure based on the frequency of 15 separate indicators encompassing an array of stressful events involving the family, communities, and the economy, this study compares each of the 50 States and 9 regions of the United States for the stressfulness of their social environments.
The analysis shows that the higher the level of social stress in a given locale, the higher the levels of maladaptive behaviors, violence, and crime. Stressful life events are positively correlated with all seven Index crimes. The findings apply to both violent and property crimes, but violent crimes are on the average more strongly associated with high levels of social stress in the community. Although some confounding variables (e.g., percent black population, percent living in metropolitan areas) and some buffering variables (e.g., level of welfare assistance, mental health support available) appeared to contribute to findings, the relationship between level of social stress and crime held for both violent and property crimes. 6 tables.