Behavior Genetics and Anomie/Strain Theory

Document Type


Publication Date



Criminology is in need of conceptual revival, and behavior genetics can provide the concepts and research design to accomplish this. Behavior genetics is a biologically-friendly environmental discipline that often tells us more about environmental effects on individual traits than about genetic effects. Anomie/strain theory is used to illustrate the usefulness of behavior genetics to criminological theories. Behavior genetics examines the individual differences that sort people into different modes of adaptation and that lead them to cope constructively or destructively with strain. Behavior genetics and other biosocial perspectives have the potential to help illuminate Agnew's (1997) extension of General Strain Theory (GST) into the developmental realm.