Gender and General Strain Theory: An Exploration Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health

Lisa Kort-Butler, North Carolina State University

The purpose of the current study is to provide a preliminary examination and potential explanation for gender differences delinquency, using arguments from general strain theory. Following this approach, I hypothesize that differences in strains and psychosocial resources control for the effect of gender on delinquency, and that gender interacts with these factors to impact delinquency. Analyses are based on the first wave of the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health. Results offer tentative support for these hypotheses. Notably, educational strain and trouble relating in school interact with gender in affecting delinquency. Also, distress predicts delinquency for girls but not boys. Thus, general strain theory offers an intriguing starting point, but more theoretical and exploratory work is necessary to account for the relationship between gender and delinquency.

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Updated 05/20/2006