Life Strain, Coping, and Delinquency: An Empirical Test of General Strain Theory in the People's Republic of China

Wan-Ning Bao, Indiana-Purdue University - Indianapolis
Ain Haas, Indiana Univ. Purdue Univ. - Indianapolis
Yijun Pi, Chinese University of Political Sci & Law

Using a sample of 615 middle- and high-school students from both rural and urban areas of the People's Republic of China, this study gests the effects of coping strategies predicted by Agnew's (1992) general strain theory (GST), in which the impact of strain on delinquency is condititioned by adolescents' personal and social resources. The analyses represent a more comprehensive test focusing on the mechanisms through which adolescents' social control, social learning, and self-coping moderate the relationship between adolescents' negative interpersonal relations and delinquency. Results provide support to the "coping strategies" hypotheses, as posited by GST in a non-western culture. Negative interpersonal relations have a positive effect on delinquency among those low in conventional attachment, moral beliefs and self-efficacy, and high in delinquent peers The discussion includes an interpretation of the findings, their implications in conventional sources of social support and social control, and their relevance to cross-cultural comparisons.

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Updated 05/20/2006