Defining Differential Association

Defining Differential Association

Defining Differential Association
According to Edwin Sutherland, Differential Association Theory is ?the specific causal process in the development of systematic criminal behavior?. (Criminological Theories, Akers, pg.72) To a lay person, I see differential association in the terms of someone being a product of his/her environment. A person who is brought up to be a criminal, becomes a criminal. If you take a person from an upstanding neighborhood, and place said person in an area of unwanted violence and destitution, that person has a great chance of becoming delinquent themselves through their own interactions with other delinquents.
Testing of Sutherland?s Theory
Since Sutherland first announced his Differential Association Theory, studies on his theory have been tested through samples, as well as testing beyond the spectrum of other theories to explain this causation. According to Agnew, research consistently saw that a friends? delinquency is a strong predictor of the individual?s delinquency, thus supporting the idea of differential association through the cause that the child?s delinquent behavior came from the delinquent friend. (Agnew, 1995) However, there are many explanations for this kind of behavior that can either coincide with differential association, or can hinder the possibility making the findings

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