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Sociological Causes of Crime
Natalie will be one of the first in her family to earn a
college degree. She is determined to earn her
bachelor’s degree in psychology and then possibly go
on to a master’s degree, or even a doctorate.
However, these dreams need to deal with reality. She
has two children to raise on her own, and has to stay
active with work as well as her children’s lives. She is
proud of her accomplishments and hopes that her
children will go as far, if not further with their
Natalie’s two brothers did not seem to have the same
chances. Her oldest brother seems to have the most
difficult time. He was always angry as a teenager and
got suspended from school on a number of occasions
due to fights. Once, he got into an altercation with a
teacher and hit the teacher pretty hard; he was
expelled from school. He took his GED at a boys’ boot
camp run by the sheriff’s office. When he was released
at the age of eighteen, he had a difficult time landing a
job and worked on and off as a day laborer. He was
later arrested for stealing tools from a construction
site and sent back to jail. This only seemed to increase
his anger towards everyone. Natalie stopped visiting
him and now keeps in touch sporadically. The last she
heard, he was working odd jobs and relying on alcohol
Natalie wonders why her brother has turned out so
different. Of course, they all had the same childhood,
and their father was an abusive alcoholic. But all the
more reason, she thought, her brothers would choose
a different path. She wondered if they had the same
choices as she did. Did being a male make life harder?
She always thought men had it easier in life. She
wondered if her brothers were to blame for their
decisions and life choices, or if they ever had a real
choice at all. She felt frustrated that, with all her
psychology courses, she still could not tell why her
brothers turned out so differently.
Research theories related to gender and crime using the textbook, online library resources, and
the Internet. Identify scholarly, peer-reviewed sources for use in this assignment.
Based on the scenario, your readings and research, respond to the following:
Select at least two different, contemporary theories that would apply to the case.
Employ the theories to explain why Natalie and her brothers have chosen different paths
Give reasons in support of your responses.
Write your initial response in 4–6 paragraphs (1 page, no double space). Apply APA standards to
citation of sources.
Due Saturday, October 11, 201
Sociological Causes of Crime
The case of Natalie and her brothers can be explained with the help of two theories: General
Strain theory and Differential Opportunity and Delinquency theory. These theories can help
Natalie to understand the reasons behind her brothers turning out differently than her. They can
also explain to some extent why Natalie did not become a delinquent like her brothers and could
escape successfully from the clutches of the shadow of her abusive alcoholic father unlike her
brothers who could not escape the impact of the strain of an abusive alcoholic father.
General Strain theory by Robert Agnew is an expansion of Merton’s Anomie theory. This theory
suggests that strain usually leads to negative emotions. These negative emotions may become the
cause of delinquency (Conklin, 2010). It cannot be denied that Natalie’s brothers may have faced
some kind of strain during their childhood years because of their abusive alcoholic father and
this may have developed negative feelings in them. This could be the reason that Natalie’s oldest
brother could not tolerate the dominance of his teacher and reacted wildly. The theory proposes
that negative emotions also develop feelings of anger and a necessity to develop a coping
mechanism in order to relax (Strain Theories, 2010). Natalie’s brother faced the abuse of his
father, and then he also had to face unemployment and frequent arrests due to his criminal
activities. All these increased his anger and resentment and may have led to his violent reaction
and his coping mechanism was to turn to find relaxation in alcohol and drugs.