Strain and the Conditioning Effects of Social Support: A Test of Gender Differences Among African Americans

Jason A. Lyons, Louisiana State University

Social support has received a great deal of attention in the stress literature, yet only a few researchers have examined it in their empirical tests of Agnew's general strain theory (GST). This study focuses on the constraints to deviant coping by examining social support as a conditioning factor of deviance. Four hypotheses are derived from GST and social support literature: (1) Strain has a positive, direct effect on deviance and a positive, indirect effect on deviance through negative affective states; (2) Social support has a direct negative effect on deviant coping and also negatively interacts with negative affective states to produce less deviance; (3) The direct and indirect effects of strain are not significantly different between males and females; and (4) The direct and indirect effects of social support are greater for males than females. The data from a nationally representative survey of African American adults is used in this study. OLS regression will be used to test these hypotheses.

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Updated 05/20/2006