General Strain Theory Definition

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General strain theory is another approach to determining why students resort to carrying weapons at school. The introduction of negative stimuli into an individual’s life is one of the main three strains described in general strain theory. Negative stimuli that are perceived as unjust often result in crime according to general strain theory. Negative stimuli often cause negative emotions, strains, such as anger or frustration, which can result in delinquent behavior. While not all strains lead to delinquent behavior, strains that develop due to the perception that something is unjust frequently lead to crime. Therefore perceived injustices that occur at school increase the chances of a student engaging in delinquent acts, including school violence (Agnew, 2006).…show more content…
In one definition of strain Agnew (1992) states it is a “relationship in which others are not treating the individual as he or she would like to be treated” (48). Students who are not treated as they would like while at school often become angry and anger “energizes the individual for action,” which means a criminal response to this strain is likely (Agnew, 2001, 327). A perceived injustice at school that often causes strain on students is bullying. In a study on high profile school shootings researchers found that 71% of shooters had been victims of bullying (Vossekuil et al., 2002). In terms of school related deaths, the offenders were more than twice as likely to have been victims of bullying than other students (Anderson et al., 2001; Glew et al., 2008). Recent studies suggest that adolescents who are bullied are more likely to bring weapons to school as a result of their exposure to the repeated strain of bullying (Brockenbrough, Cornell, & Loper, 2002; Glew et al., 2008; Goldstein, Young, & Boyd, 2008; Nansel et al.,

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