Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Chicago neighborhoods and crime: A test of Agnew's macro-level strain theory
by Vincent, M. Bess, Ph.D., Tulane University, 2011, 179; 3483910
Abstract (Summary)

In recent decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in ecological explanations of crime, especially as they relate to Shaw and McKay's (1942) research regarding community structure, crime and delinquency. Social disorganization, relative deprivation and subcultural deviance theories identify several variables measuring formal and informal social controls, inequalities, and learning opportunities that mediate the effects of the community structure and crime relationship. Robert Agnew (1999) poses a macro-level strain theory (MST), which suggests that strain is conditioned by social control and learning variables that influence systemic levels of negative affect and community crime rates. Preliminary tests of MST (Brezina, Piquero, and Mazerolle 2001; Hoffman and Ireland 2004; Pratt and Godsey 2003) provide partial support for the theory; yet, studies have been limited in abilities to operationalize variables and to model indirect effects. This dissertation tests MST using data collected from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods: Community Survey, 1994-1995; 1990 Census Data; and Homicide Incident Data from the Chicago Police Department for the years 1996-1999. Structural equation models measuring the mediating effects of strain on the relationship between community characteristics and homicide rates fit better than models of social disorganization and subcultural deviance. While variables measuring social control do condition the effects of strain on negative affect and crime, these models have poor fit. Thus, while the mediating effects of MST are supported, more research is needed on the moderating effects of social control and learning variables.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bankston, Carl L., III
School: Tulane University
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 73/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Criminology, Social structure
Keywords: Agnew, Robert, Chicago, Homicide, Illinois, Social disorganization, Social ecology, Strain
Publication Number: 3483910
ISBN: 978-1-267-00925-8
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