Research Paper: Theories for Why Offenders Commit Crime

Pages: 2 (678 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Psychology  ·  Buy This Paper

Strain, Social Control, Social Learning Theories, and Property Crime

According to Agnew (2008), Strain theory is different from Social Control and Social Learning theories in that it examines the sets of social relationships that progress towards delinquency and the motivation for delinquency in ways that are not examined by the Control/Learning theories. Whereas, Social Learning theory for example posits that individuals learn behavior from peers and members of their immediate community (Akers, Jennings, 2009), and Social Control theory posits that one merely sees the advantage for oneself of breaking rules and laws and is not "controlled" by societal controls (Schreck, Hirschi, 2009), Strain theory focuses more on the impact of negative relationships and how delinquency results from pressurized negative states (anger, resentment) thus straining one's ability to exercise good, clear thinking and upright moral behavior (Agnew, 2008).

Strain theory applies to property crime and property offenders in the sense that it explains delinquent and criminal acts as stemming from the negative states in which the offenders are situated for far too long. It does not, like Social Learning theory, assume that the behavior is simply "learned" and therefore repeated, but rather that the behavior is the result of a pressurized internal system that, like a volcano, is building and building more and more pressure from the strain of the negative state until it finally erupts in the form of criminal behavior -- which is a kind of lashing out at the rule and law-abiding society around him, which appears to have everything going its way. The offender, according to Strain theory, essentially says to society that nothing is really going its way and demonstrates that by breaking society's rules regarding private property: the offense is a reflection of the offense committed inside the offender as a result of the negative state in which he has subjected to various unwholesome and unhealthy attitudes and situations, whether social, economic, political or spiritual.

Social Control theory does not regard the strain aspect of the offense against property or the impact of the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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