A Test of General Strain Theory Using Incarcerated Women: An Examination of Duration, Recency and Clustering

Lee Slocum, University of Maryland at College Park
Sally S. Simpson, University of Maryland at College Park

Agnew's General Strain Theory has been the focus of many empirical tests. Unfortunately, the data used to conduct the majority of these tests has been less than ideal. In particular, these studies have either used cross-sectional data or longitudinal data with a long lag period between collection points. While these types of data are acceptable to test some of the assumptions of GST, they are inadequate to test the assumptions that strain is a proximal cause of delinquent behavior and that strain has a more detrimental effect when it is clustered, recent, or longer in duration. The study at hand uses the appropriate data to test these assumptions of GST. Specifically, GST will be tested using longitudinal, individual-level data collected from a sample of 200 women in a city detention center. The data are retrospective and were collected for each month of a 36-month period, using a Life Events Calendar.

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Updated 05/20/2006