Strain and Opportunity Structures
strain theory, stress, delinquency, opportunity structures, multilevel
Traditional strain theory received substantial empirical attention for a prolonged period of time, but it currently occupies a marginal position in criminology. Efforts to revitalize and elaborate it have occurred under the rubric of Agnew's general strain theory. These theories share a focus on how contextual factors, in particular what are commonly referred to as opportunity structures, affect the relationship between stresses and strains and delinquency. Using national-level data, this study considers empirically the impact of several illegitimate opportunity structures conceptualized at the school-level on the association between strain, stressful life events, delinquency, and self-concept. The results indicate that both stress and strain affect changes in delinquency and self-concept over time. Yet there is little evidence that these relationships are conditioned by access to illegitimate opportunity. These results suggest that strain and stress affect delinquency uniformly across a variety of illegitimate opportunity structures.
Original Publication Citation
Hoffmann, John P., and Timothy O. Ireland. 2004. “Strain and Opportunity Structures.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 20(3): 263-292.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Hoffmann, John P. and Ireland, Timothy O., "Strain and Opportunity Structures" (2004). Faculty Publications. 3921.
Journal of Quantitative Criminology
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
© 2004 Plenum Publishing Corporation
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