Mertons Strain Theory

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Merton’s Strain Theory

Describe strain theory from Robert Merton. What is your informed position on the theory based on the textbook reading?

Robert Merton came up with strain theory which the main premise is that people develop deviant behaviors to enable them to get goals that they strive to achieve by use of illegal means since legitimate means cannot make them get the goal. There are those who accepts means of getting the goals, there are those who accept the goals but reject the means, and there are those who reject both means and goals and come with their own (Agnew, R. (2011). The theory based on the textbook reading is practical because that is what currently is happening in the society regarding ways of achieving individuals’ goals and the means that are used to achieve.


Agnew, R. (2011). Revitalizing merton: General strain theory. The origins of American criminology, 16,

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