Social strain theory and the labelling perspective

The social strain theory of deviance is a social-psychological model which explains the occurrence of deviant behavior through the interaction of the individual with common social factors. The empirical support tor this theory is reviewed, with emphasis upon the challenge posed by non-official evidence of the distribution of delinquency. Based on the conflicting evidence found with official and non official criterion of delinquency it is suggested that labeling effects may account for a relationship between conflicting goals and expectations and delinquent behavior. Research was conducted to compare and integrate social strain and labeling models, and also to examine official and non-official sources of labeling among self-reported delinquents.