Published on August 10, 2014
from Stress to Frustration to Crime : from Stress to Frustration to Crime By Joseph M. Williams Sr. Student Psychology and the Law Instructor : D. Laufersweiler-Dwyer PhD February 19, 2009 Introduction : Introduction The term "stress" includes the perceptions and responses of humans trying to adapt to the challenges of everyday life. In terminology, "stress" refers to the reaction of the organism, and "stressor" to the perceived threat. Persistent stress that is not resolved through coping or adaptation, deemed distress, may lead to anxiety or withdrawal (depression) behavior. PowerPoint Presentation: Lazarus: argued that in order for a psychosocial situation to be stressful, it must be appraised as such. He argued that cognitive processes of appraisal are central in determining whether a situation is potentially threatening, constitutes a harm/loss, a challenge, or is benign. PowerPoint Presentation: This primary appraisal is influenced by both person and environmental factors, and triggers the selection of coping processes. Problem-focused coping is directed at managing the problem, Emotion-focused coping processes are directed at managing the negative emotions. PowerPoint Presentation: The most extreme events and reactions may elicit the diagnosis of Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to one or more terrifying events that threatened or caused grave physical harm. PTSD is a severe and ongoing emotional reaction to an extreme psychological trauma. PowerPoint Presentation: This stressor may involve viewing someone's actual death, a threat to the patient's or someone else's life, serious physical injury, or threat to physical or psychological integrity, overwhelming usual psychological defenses coping. In some cases it can also be from profound psychological and emotional trauma, apart from any actual physical harm PowerPoint Presentation: Frustration is an emotional response to circumstances where one is obstructed from arriving at a personal goal. It has been accepted that the more important the goal; the greater the frustration. It is comparable to anger and disappointment. PowerPoint Presentation: Sources of frustration may be internal or external. Internal sources of frustration involve personal deficiencies such as a lack of confidence or fear of social situations that prevent one from reaching a goal. Conflict can also be an internal source of frustration when one has competing goals that interfere with one another. PowerPoint Presentation: External causes of frustration involve conditions outside the person such as a blocked road; or conditions linked to the person's actions but not directly such as lack of money, or lack of intimacy. In psychology, passive-aggressive behavior is a method of dealing with frustration. According to N.E. Miller "frustration produces instigation to a number of different types of response, one of which is can be some form of aggression." Strain theory : Strain theory In criminology, the strain theory states that social structures within society may encourage citizens to commit crime. PowerPoint Presentation: Structural : this refers to the processes at the societal level which filter down and affect how the individual perceives his or her needs, i.e. if particular social structures are inherently inadequate or there is inadequate regulation, this may change the individual's perceptions as to means and opportunities. PowerPoint Presentation: Individual: this refers to the frictions and pains experienced by an individual as he or she looks for ways to satisfy his or her needs, i.e. if the goals of a society become significant to an individual, actually achieving them may become more important than the means adopted. PowerPoint Presentation: The strain theory as pioneered by W. E. B. Du Bois in The Philadelphia Negro (1899), presented an in-depth study on African-American crime. The first part of Du Bois' criminological theory focused on the strain of the social revolution experienced by African Americans in the face of political reforms in the post-bellum U.S. as a factor in increased crime. PowerPoint Presentation: Strain Theories try to provide a structural explanation for criminality supposing that all systems, whether mechanical or social, depend on the constituent parts working together, and any failure or "strain" on a critical part or combination of parts may cause system failure unless "repair" or replacement is done. These theories also relate to Differential Association, Social Control and Social Learning Theory. Robert Agnew : Robert Agnew In 1992, Agnew asserted that strain theory could be central in explaining crime and deviance, but that it needed revision so that it was not tied to social class or cultural variables, but refocused on self-generated norms. He therefore proposed a general strain theory that is neither structural nor interpersonal, but emotional and focused on an individual's immediate social environment PowerPoint Presentation: Strain emerges from negative relationships with others. If individuals are not treated in the way that they expect or want to be treated, they will lose their belief in the role others play for realizing expectations. PowerPoint Presentation: Anger and frustration confirm negative relationships. Should attempts to realize goals be blocked by others, the negative affect may lead to pressure which, in turn, may persuade any individual to adopt illegitimate means to attain the goal. This will often involve more unilateral action because there will be a natural desire to avoid unpleasant rejections, confirming more general alienation. PowerPoint Presentation: If particular rejections are generalized into feelings that the environment is unsupportive, more strongly negative emotions may motivate the individual to engage in crime. This is most likely to be true for younger individuals. He particularly identified factors including temperament, intelligence, interpersonal skills, self-efficacy, association with criminal peers, and conventional social support. A failure to achieve positive valued goals : A failure to achieve positive valued goals The gap between expectations and actual achievements will derive from short- and long-term personal goals, and some of those goals will never be realized because of unavoidable circumstances including both inherent weaknesses and opportunities blocked by others. PowerPoint Presentation: The difference between the view of what a person believes the outcome should be and what actually results increases personal disappointment. Frustration is not necessarily due to any outside interference with valued goals, but a direct effect on anger, and has indirect effects on serious crime and aggression. PowerPoint Presentation: Agnew and White have produced empirical evidence suggesting that general strain theory was positively able to relate delinquents and drug users, and that the strongest effect on the delinquents studied was the delinquency of their peers. They were interested in drug use because it did not appear to represent an attempt to direct anger or escape pain, but "is used primarily to manage the negative affect caused by strain." PowerPoint Presentation: Frustration leads to dissatisfaction, resentment, and anger — all the emotions customarily associated with strain in criminology. It is natural for individuals to feel distress when they are denied just rewards for their efforts when compared to the efforts and rewards given to similar others for similar outcomes. PowerPoint Presentation: Agnew treats anger as the most critical emotion since it is almost always directed outwards and is often related to breakdowns in relationships. Research shows that the stress/crime relationship appears to hold regardless of guilt feelings, age, and capacity to cope when events occur simultaneously or in close succession. Steven F. Messner and Richard Rosenfeld : Steven F. Messner and Richard Rosenfeld Messner and Rosenfeld proposed a Theory of Institutional Anomie (sometimes called "American Dream" Theory) representing a radicalization of Merton's key ideas by linking Strain Theory to Social Control Theory and focusing on contradictions in both the cultural system and the opportunity structures to be pursued by everyone in a mass society dominated by huge multinational corporations. PowerPoint Presentation: Specifically they built on the section of Merton’s strain theory dealing with emphasized goals. They seek to explain the cause of the United States’ elevated crime rate in terms of the American Dream which is a broad, cultural ethos that entails a commitment to the goal of material success, to be pursued by everyone. PowerPoint Presentation: But if the chances for success are genuinely open to everyone, this belief creates an intense fear of failure. As did Merton, Rosenfeld and Messner claim that there is a causal link between the crime rate and the core values contained within the American Dream. Their argument is not only that concern for economics has come to dominate U.S. culture, but that the noneconomic institutions in society have tended to become subservient to the economy. PowerPoint Presentation: For example , the educational system now prepares students for the job market rather than offering a general education, politicians are elected on the strength of the economy, and despite lip service to family values, workers and their families are expected to subordinate their lives to the needs of the employer. PowerPoint Presentation: Goals other than material success such as parenting, teaching, and serving the community, are no longer considered valuable. Their work also blames the high crime rate on the institutional imbalance of power. As in the work of Merton, and Cloward and Ohlin, there is differential access to opportunity. Those individuals with the means and the power can succeed while those individuals without it are left by the wayside. Conclusion: Conclusion The cause of crime is the anomie fostered by the American Dream and, since the emphasis is on the efficiency of the market economy, crime is often seen as the most efficient competitive strategy for making immediate material gains. PowerPoint Presentation: The Dream also embodies the values of achievement and individualism. Achievement involves the use of material success to measure one's self-worth. Individualism refers to the notion of intense personal competition to achieve material success. Often, however, the two are combined. 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