An Examination of Economic Strain, Negative Emotions, and Low Self-Control: A Test With Institutionalized Juveniles

Jacob H. Erickson, Mark H. Heirigs, Matt DeLisi, Alexandra Slemaker, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Strain and low self-control theory are two prominent theories of crime. However, there has been little research comparing the two perspectives to examine their relationship to self-reported delinquency among institutionalized juveniles. We begin to address this gap in the literature by assessing the impacts of economic strain, negative emotions, and low self-control on the commission of property and violent crime using a near census of institutionalized delinquents from Missouri. Results indicated self-control was more essential to understanding both property and violent crime among institutionalized youth as compared to economic strain and negative emotions. Any associations between negative emotions and delinquency were mediated by the effect of low self-control. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

Keywords

  • delinquency
  • general strain theory
  • juvenile institutionalization
  • low self-control
  • youth violence

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