Lee Researches on General Strain, Coping, and Young Adult Crime

Posted on 9/6/2012 9:15:12 AM

Dan Lee, Department of Criminology, along with coauthors and IUP alumni Jennifer Huck, Kendra Bowen, James Bowers, and Jason Spraitz, recently published “Specifying the Dynamic Relationships of General Strain, Coping, and Young Adult Crime”. The article was published in the August 2012 issue of Western Criminology Review.


General strain theory has been tested critically, but the development of the theory has lagged because tests of the full model are rare, and the integration and specification of conditioning variables that affect crime and deviance are not clear. This test of general strain theory used a young adult sample (n=679) of university students to complete a comprehensive analysis of the main tenets of general strain theory with the specific inclusion of conditioning variables such as self-esteem, self-efficacy, and delinquent peers, and expansion of the traditional measures of affective states, coping strategies, and types of deviant and criminal behaviors. General support for the theory was confirmed. The results show that perceptions of success and fairness, a more traditional measure of strain, are not related to crime and deviance, but the more subjective measure of stress, consistent with general strain theory, does have a relationship with crime and deviance. Implications based on these findings are presented.

Department of Criminology