Individual strainrefers to the pains or “difficult” times experienced by an individual as he looksfor alternative ways or methods to prevent his or hers ongoing strain. If thegoals of a group become substantial to an individual, actually achieving it or obtainingyour goal may become more significant than the means accepted (RobertAgnew,2004). The theory “Social straintheory” was developed by sociologist Robert K.
Merton. The theory statesthat social structures may force citizens to commit crimes. According Merton,there are five ways to adapt to strain (Dickinson,2017). The first beingconformity, which means pursuing cultural goals through socially approvedmeans.
Secondly there is Innovation, which is using socially unapproved orunconventional means to obtain culturally approved goals. Example: dealingdrugs or theft to achieve financial security. The third way to adapt is byritualism, using the same socially approved means to achieve less subtle goals.(Dickinson,2017) After that, there is retreatism, to reject both the culturalgoals, and the means to gain it, then find a way to escape it. (Dickinson,2017)The fifth and final way to adapt according to Merton is rebellion, to rejectthe cultural goals and means, then work to replace them. (Dickinson,2017) It isargued that individuals experience strain when they aim to achieve financialsuccess but do not expect to reach it, because they perceive the goal ofsuccess to be out of range (Dickinson,2017). GST proposes that there are 3sources of strain, which are: 1) When you are stopped from getting somethingyou desire.
2) Take away something you value. 3) Do something or threaten to dosomething that you do not want. (Dickinson,2017) There are four ways to respondto this strain, which are the following: 1) Crime.
2) Cognitive copingstrategies. 3) Behavioral coping strategies. 4) Emotional coping strategies. (Dickinson,2017)This leads to the main question, why are people more likely to respond tostrain with crime? There is five main reason why people respond to strain withcrime. When strains involve important areas of life, poor coping skills andresources, few conventional supports, if the cost of crime is low, or when youare disposed to crime.
(RobertH. Aseltine) Strain can also affect delinquency. Juveniles are less ableto cope with strains than adults for various reasons, one being they areinexperienced and emotionally immature. Juveniles experience strains thatadults do not, for example, they are bullied in school or fail an exam.According to General Strain Theory, Individuals with a greater access to copingmechanisms will be less likely to commit deviances or crime. GST also includesvarious expansions. First one being Vicarious Strains, which is when peopleclose to you are going through strains.
Second being Anticipated Strains, (Robert H.Aseltine )which iswhen you feel like something bad is going to occur (Ex. You believe you cannotpay next month’s rent, so you commit a robbery in order to pay rent.) Thenthere is Master Traits, which is having high negative emotions and lowself-control.( Robert H.Aseltine)