Experienced, Vicarious, and Anticipated Strain: An Exploratory Study Focusing on Physical Victimization and Delinquency

Robert Agnew, Emory University

Most research on strain theory focuses on the effect of personally experienced strain on delinquency. This study focuses on vicarious and anticipated strain; vicarious strain refers to the real-life strains experienced by others around the individual, while anticipated strain refers to the individual's expectation that current strains will continue into the future or that new strains will be experienced. Data from a national sample of adolescent boys are used to examine that type of strain involving physical victimization, with measures of experienced, vicarious physlical victimization. This study suggests that strain theory's focus on experienced strain may be too narrow, and it highlights the importance of victimization as a potential cause of delinquency.

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Updated 05/20/2006