Conceptualization vs Operationalization: A Gendered Analysis

Susan F. Sharp, University of Oklahoma
Jannina Darling, University of Oklahoma
Hallie Stephens, University of Oklahoma
Sharla S. Colbert, University of Oklahoma

ABSTRACT
This paper deals with the efficacy of using General Strain Theory to predict deviant behaviors using a gendered analysis. It is our contention that much of the research confuses conceptualization with operationalization. In this study, we operationalize broad concepts in order to explore gender differences in behavior.

Males and females are considered separately, to illuminate the differing paths to involvement in deviance. By taking a gendered focus, rather than controlling for gender, we provide significantly more information about both male and female deviance. The study focuses on delinquent behaviors and sexual behaviors among a sample of college students. We anticipate that different stressors will be salient for males and females. Stressor related to interpersonal relationships should be more salient for females. Additionally, we anticipate that males and females will respond differently to stress, with males more likely to report anger and females more likely to report depression. Finally, we anticipate that these differences help explain gender differences in deviant behavior.

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Updated 05/20/2006