General strain and delinquency: An anternative examination of conditioning influences

Paul Mazerolle, Jeff Maahs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


One of the key assumptions of Agnew's general strain theory (GST) is that various factors condition the effect of strain on delinquency. Past research examining this question, however, has not revealed consistent support for this hypothesis. The accumulating negative evidence on the conditioning hypothesis suggests that the theory may need to be revised or, alternatively, that past studies simply were unable to uncover valid relationships because of the analytical methods employed. In the current examination, we use data from the National Youth Survey and contingency table analyses to examine whether the strain-delinquency relationship is conditioned by various risk factors such as exposure to delinquent peers, holding deviant beliefs, and having a behavioral propensity toward delinquency. The results reveal both cross-sectional and longitudinal support for the conditioning hypothesis derived from GST. Implications for future research on GST are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-788
Number of pages36
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000


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